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Via Garibaldi 8

Express Bus Advocacy Group

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10 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of new drivers (I had one Saturday and seem to get one at least once a week now).  When you are new and on probation, they are being closely watched for everything, so they are to follow what they are told, or they can be fired, and instead of having a slow bus, you'll have no bus at all. They are taught safety first.  I have been complaining about quite a few trips and pressuring the (MTA) to fill them, and they are still struggling with a driver shortage here and there, but better than months ago.  We had a meeting with the (MTA) a few weeks ago discussing certain lines. Believe me, they are well aware.  They have promised increased supervision for certain trips that were ongoing problems. 

One other thing to note... A dispatcher posted in our group over the weekend that the BxMs Southbound are on detour until further notice.  The detour is via Lex from 79th Street down to 23rd.  This is being done to try to avoid the congestion on 5th and to try to keep buses on schedule. May not be constant, but don't be shocked if it happens.  

What would the (MTA) do about it? What can they do?

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5 hours ago, 78 via Stew Leonards said:

What would the (MTA) do about it? What can they do?

What can they do about what? As long as the driver is driving safely, then there’s no problem. If he’s doing anything wrong then file a complaint and they can send someone out to see what’s going on, otherwise be happy you have a bus or switch and take another one if possible. Can’t fix everything and won’t, but some things have improved.

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28 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

What can they do about what? As long as the driver is driving safely, then there’s no problem. If he’s doing anything wrong then file a complaint and they can send someone out to see what’s going on, otherwise be happy you have a bus or switch and take another one if possible. Can’t fix everything and won’t, but some things have improved.

They're doing construction on the Concourse at Penn Station in preparation for ESA. I take the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal to avoid the crowding at Penn Station. Really hope the Hempstead Branch gets Penn so I can enjoy a peaceful ride into Brooklyn.

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1 hour ago, NY1635 said:

They're doing construction on the Concourse at Penn Station in preparation for ESA. I take the LIRR to Atlantic Terminal to avoid the crowding at Penn Station. Really hope the Hempstead Branch gets Penn so I can enjoy a peaceful ride into Brooklyn.

What does this have to do with the thread? <_<

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Last night at the Bronx Bus Redesign Web stream Mark Holmes was talking about the cuts in express bus service.  He mentioned that one of the reasons they scaled back off peak service was because buses were getting an average of 10 riders over a 14-16 hour span.  Is he talking about talking about 10 riders say, on the BxM1, for the entire 14-16 hours, or 10 riders per trip over 14-16 hours?

I'm not specifically talking about the BxM1, but rather, is this an average of 10 riders total on each bus line for the entire 14-16 hour day, or  on average 10 riders per trip for the 14-16 hour time period?

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That's because most riders take Subways and Local Buses.

 

Sometimes you have to wait a long while for an Express Bus to show up. At least the Subways are more frequent during normal hours.

 

Sometimes you have to wait a long while for an Express Bus to show up. At least the Subways are more frequent during normal hours. If outside is really cold I go straight to the Subways, instead of waiting long for an Express Bus, even the Local Buses run more frequent.

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On 12/13/2019 at 11:04 PM, bwwnyc123 said:

Sometimes you have to wait a long while for an Express Bus to show up. At least the Subways are more frequent during normal hours. If outside is really cold I go straight to the Subways, instead of waiting long for an Express Bus, even the Local Buses run more frequent.

If you reduce the far a little bit more people can take the express bus and you'll have more ridership. Funny enough, the MTA could make more money off this

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On 12/13/2019 at 8:29 AM, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

Last night at the Bronx Bus Redesign Web stream Mark Holmes was talking about the cuts in express bus service.  He mentioned that one of the reasons they scaled back off peak service was because buses were getting an average of 10 riders over a 14-16 hour span.  Is he talking about talking about 10 riders say, on the BxM1, for the entire 14-16 hours, or 10 riders per trip over 14-16 hours?

I'm not specifically talking about the BxM1, but rather, is this an average of 10 riders total on each bus line for the entire 14-16 hour day, or  on average 10 riders per trip for the 14-16 hour time period?

To be honest, he was at the Town Hall meeting we had in Riverdale, and between himself, Jessica Cignarella (another planner) and Cipriano, they struggled to answer basic questions. Some people in the audience asked where was the first BxM2 stop. He provided the wrong information. The level of professionalism in terms of him being prepared was ridiculous. If he can’t even answer what bus stops will exist and confirm the routing, I can’t trust anything he says. I met with him and another head planner the Wednesday before the Town Hall meeting and I understand that they were told about the Town Hall meeting at the last minute, but still. They had the information right in the front of them. I think they were shocked and a bit scared by how many angry people showed up when the weather was so bad out AND there wasn’t even a week’s notice, but still. You show up and bring your A game. We sure as hell did. People in my advocacy group spread word quickly and all around the neighborhood we put up posters. Their data doesn’t seem accurate, simply because I ride the buses at the times they mentioned, and no way were buses getting four riders a bus. Now are all 57 seats filled off-peak? Usually not... I would say the buses easily get half of that or more depending on the time of day. That is certainly a lot more than their figures showed.

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8 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

To be honest, he was at the Town Hall meeting we had in Riverdale, and between himself, Jessica Cignarella (another planner) and Cipriano, they struggled to answer basic questions. Some people in the audience asked where was the first BxM2 stop. He provided the wrong information. The level of professionalism in terms of him being prepared was ridiculous. If he can’t even answer what bus stops will exist and confirm the routing, I can’t trust anything he says. I met with him and another head planner the Wednesday before the Town Hall meeting and I understand that they were told about the Town Hall meeting at the last minute, but still. They had the information right in the front of them. I think they were shocked and a bit scared by how many angry people showed up when the weather was so bad out AND there wasn’t even a week’s notice, but still. You show up and bring your A game. We sure as hell did. People in my advocacy group spread word quickly and all around the neighborhood we put up posters. Their data doesn’t seem accurate, simply because I ride the buses at the times they mentioned, and no way were buses getting four riders a bus. Now are all 57 seats filled off-peak? Usually not... I would say the buses easily get half of that or more depending on the time of day. That is certainly a lot more than their figures showed.

Even the numbers that they're using to justify the inevitable Queens off peak express cuts seem off.  How are Queens express buses averaging only 17 boardings per service hour on the week day across a total of 20 something lines?  It definitely seems like they're manipulating data or showing data in contexts to get whatever narrative they want across.  

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35 minutes ago, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

Even the numbers that they're using to justify the inevitable Queens off peak express cuts seem off.  How are Queens express buses averaging only 17 boardings per service hour on the week day across a total of 20 something lines?  It definitely seems like they're manipulating data or showing data in contexts to get whatever narrative they want across.  

Their numbers were quite similar for the Bronx express bus lines too. People in the room started booing at the Town Hall Meeting. They also don’t say how they compiled the information. This is an agency that marks a trip as “completed” if a bus is sent out. Doesn’t mean the trip has to be made... It’s a joke. Not only that, but their metrics are off the charts. With all of the missing buses, there is no way in hell that you have a performance rate over 90%. Data is fudged. 

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That's problem with averages...just a few empty runs will pull down the average significantly. They should really present run-by-run data, identify the runs that consistently have the least passengers, assess why that is the case, and only then consider cutting it. But of course they will never do that.

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2 minutes ago, QM1to6Ave said:

That's problem with averages...just a few empty runs will pull down the average significantly. They should really present run-by-run data, identify the runs that consistently have the least passengers, assess why that is the case, and only then consider cutting it. But of course they will never do that.

Clearly there's some fat that could be trimmed from the off peak runs, like the early morning QM32s that run empty back to Bayside or the QM4s off peak.  I have no problem with them getting rid of these runs if they can use it to expand express service where it's needed or to add service elsewhere, like a Whitestone-Downtown bus.  At least give us data that we can actually see and make sense of. 

You're absolutely right that averages don't portray an accurate picture, especially when they're contrasted with local weekday ridership which is like comparing apples to oranges.  They're presenting data showing local bus weekday ridership has 60 boarders on average per hour and express buses have 17 boarders on average per hour, this already implies that Express buses are underused and it really helps push the narrative that only rich people take these "luxury" buses that are heavily subsidized by tax payer dollars when in reality, most people take express buses out of necessity because otherwise they'd be taking a 20-30 minute local bus ride to the end of the subway in Flushing or Jamaica to get to the city. 

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They can get rid of the early morning runs back to Queens to help their numbers but the fact is that all of these buses have to return to College Point somehow.  Sure there's not a lot of people riding in that direction at that hour but it's not a bad thing to have some in service picking up passengers when they already have to head back anyways.

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2 hours ago, 7-express said:

They can get rid of the early morning runs back to Queens to help their numbers but the fact is that all of these buses have to return to College Point somehow.  Sure there's not a lot of people riding in that direction at that hour but it's not a bad thing to have some in service picking up passengers when they already have to head back anyways.

Exactly. And those early morning runs are not as empty as you might think. I've been doing a fair amount of "reverse commuting" and taking exp runs at "unusual" times over the past few months, and there are more people than I'd expect on those runs. I discovered, for example, the last QM6 into Manhattan (9:30 pm) later becomes the 12:30 am QM6 back to Queens, which has a lot of passengers, so that bus needs to get back to the city from Queens anyway, so the MTA makes a little extra money by having the bus carry 10-15 passengers (that is the average when I take it). 

 

Similarly, the MTA presentation argued that weekend ridership is low...expect the ridership data also showed that the QM5/6 weekend ridership grew enormously in the past year or so. So the MTA should do a better job advertising it, since there clearly is growth potential for this service that already exists, rather than cut it. 

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10 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

Exactly. And those early morning runs are not as empty as you might think. I've been doing a fair amount of "reverse commuting" and taking exp runs at "unusual" times over the past few months, and there are more people than I'd expect on those runs. I discovered, for example, the last QM6 into Manhattan (9:30 pm) later becomes the 12:30 am QM6 back to Queens, which has a lot of passengers, so that bus needs to get back to the city from Queens anyway, so the MTA makes a little extra money by having the bus carry 10-15 passengers (that is the average when I take it). 

 

Similarly, the MTA presentation argued that weekend ridership is low...expect the ridership data also showed that the QM5/6 weekend ridership grew enormously in the past year or so. So the MTA should do a better job advertising it, since there clearly is growth potential for this service that already exists, rather than cut it. 

I don’t get why the MTA doesn’t advertise for the express buses. They have no problem advertising bridge repairs for the LIRR, subway stations getting art murals, Game of Thrones printed Metrocards... 

What is it to post even on Instagram or even in subway cars like “want quick and reliable service on the weekends? Take the express bus, be in the heart of midtown in as little as 30 minutes” or something like that. 

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On 12/17/2019 at 7:41 PM, QM1to6Ave said:

That's problem with averages...just a few empty runs will pull down the average significantly. They should really present run-by-run data, identify the runs that consistently have the least passengers, assess why that is the case, and only then consider cutting it. But of course they will never do that.

That’s exactly what we talked about in the last meeting and how they offered ZERO promotions to increase off-peak ridership. The room went silent.

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8 minutes ago, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

I don’t get why the MTA doesn’t advertise for the express buses. They have no problem advertising bridge repairs for the LIRR, subway stations getting art murals, Game of Thrones printed Metrocards... 

What is it to post even on Instagram or even in subway cars like “want quick and reliable service on the weekends? Take the express bus, be in the heart of midtown in as little as 30 minutes” or something like that. 

Advertising? That is not a word in the (MTA) vocabulary when it comes to express bus service or even local buses, save SBS service of course. I’ve mentioned it now twice in the last to two meetings. The planners all look lost when I bring it up. Pretty comical to say the least.

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The MTA claims they're for safety and train their new drivers to drive 10-15mph below the speed limit but that does nothing but create a hazard for everyone on the road. More problems are caused by driving under the speed limit than over.

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7 hours ago, 78 via Stew Leonards said:

The MTA claims they're for safety and train their new drivers to drive 10-15mph below the speed limit but that does nothing but create a hazard for everyone on the road. More problems are caused by driving under the speed limit than over.

I’ve argued the same thing...

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1 hour ago, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

I think a lot of people are gonna be unhappy with these changes.

Yeah no kidding.  NE Queens buses back on 57th and taking a weird routing to the LIE.  Pretty sure that's not going to save much time vs Northern.  Major service cuts during off-peak hours too.  Pretty garbage.  But I guess there's downtown buses now?

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8 hours ago, 7-express said:

Yeah no kidding.  NE Queens buses back on 57th and taking a weird routing to the LIE.  Pretty sure that's not going to save much time vs Northern.  Major service cuts during off-peak hours too.  Pretty garbage.  But I guess there's downtown buses now?

For the PM 6th Avenue run I would rather them go down 5th or 7th to get back to the Midtown Tunnel.  I don't think 57th is much better than 59th Street and having buses go down Thompson and Van Dam to get to the LIE just seems unnecessary.  Traffic from the Midtown Tunnel to the BQE almost always moves quickly, where as the upper level of the bridge gets backed up to make the left turn onto Thompson Ave and Van Dam can backed up too that now every bus in the city will be making left turns onto it to get to the LIE.  AS far as putting buses back on the LIE to the Van Wyck, all I'll say is there's a reason why the Super express drivers take the BQE and Astoria Blvd back to Whitestone as opposed to staying on the LIE all the way.

I'm thrilled to get downtown service to Whitestone, but who thought it was a good idea to have all of these buses merge onto the BQE in the morning from the LIE?  Did anyone get in a car and try and take these routes in the morning?  The BQE exit backs up onto the LIE, it's the reason why traffic on the LIE never clears up until after you get past Maurice Park.  In contrast the LIE HOV lane to the FDR is virtually smooth sailing in the morning.  By the time the buses would actually merge onto the BQE - before even going over the Koschuisko bridge - downtown buses could be coming out of the tunnel and making their way to the FDR for a quick 5 minute ride down the FDR instead of going over the Williamsburg bridge and then sitting in traffic trying to make left turns onto Bowery.  

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12 hours ago, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

I think a lot of people are gonna be unhappy with these changes.

You think? They pretty much gutted weekend service almost entirely. There is NO Sunday express bus service anywhere in Queens! None!! No more QM3 at all!! Then they provide this rindy dink Downtown service, with some lines have THREE trips!! Worthless!! The Middle Village/Glendale split really is stupid.  They split up the QM25 and have it serving Brooklyn, where there is already subway service and put an express bus on Grand Av.  Talk about stupid... 

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2 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

You think? They pretty much gutted weekend service almost entirely. There is NO Sunday express bus service anywhere in Queens! None!! No more QM3 at all!! Then they provide this rindy dink Downtown service, with some lines have THREE trips!! Worthless!! The Middle Village/Glendale split really is stupid.  They split up the QM25 and have it serving Brooklyn, where there is already subway service and put an express bus on Grand Av.  Talk about stupid... 

With these cuts and new frequencies, it seems very clear that the MTA wants to turn these buses into peak commuter buses only.  I don't understand how you can have 1 hour headways between 4 and 5pm for a lot of these buses.  And what happens when a run goes missing?  Do these people now have to wait for a 5pm bus in the middle of rush hour?

The good news is, there won't be too many more missing trips, because these new runs are going to take so long that B/Os won't have the time to deadhead back to the city for a 2nd PM trip.

I know for a fact that Middle Village and Glendale will be going crazy over the loss of service and the loss of some of their friends from Glendale and Fresh Pond due to the route split. People need to start screaming and hollering over the new QM25 route over there.  Taking the bus off the LIE and FDR to put it on local roads that have lots of traffic on them make no sense.  The idea to put stops in Williamsburg make no sense either.  That area is filled with young people who live with 4 roommates to split a $3500 rent, they move there specifically for how cool it is and how close it is to the L train, these people aren't working 9 to 5 jobs on Wall Street and they don't have disposable income to be getting on an express bus that will take longer to get to the city from where they are already.

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2 minutes ago, ViaWaterViaChurch said:

With these cuts and new frequencies, it seems very clear that the MTA wants to turn these buses into peak commuter buses only.  I don't understand how you can have 1 hour headways between 4 and 5pm for a lot of these buses.  And what happens when a run goes missing?  Do these people now have to wait for a 5pm bus in the middle of rush hour?

The good news is, there won't be too many more missing trips, because these new runs are going to take so long that B/Os won't have the time to deadhead back to the city for a 2nd PM trip.

I know for a fact that Middle Village and Glendale will be going crazy over the loss of service and the loss of some of their friends from Glendale and Fresh Pond due to the route split. People need to start screaming and hollering over the new QM25 route over there.  Taking the bus off the LIE and FDR to put it on local roads that have lots of traffic on them make no sense.  The idea to put stops in Williamsburg make no sense either.  That area is filled with young people who live with 4 roommates to split a $3500 rent, they move there specifically for how cool it is and how close it is to the L train, these people aren't working 9 to 5 jobs on Wall Street and they don't have disposable income to be getting on an express bus that will take longer to get to the city from where they are already.

That's what  said and who in the hell uses Grand Av to for express bus service? I just don't get any of that... We'll come up with a flier the way that we did for the Bronx and start outreach ASAP.  The whole thing is outrageous.

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