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Via Garibaldi 8

Express Bus Advocacy Group

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@Via Garibaldi 8 I had a fun little new experience this morning...I got on the QM1, close my eyes to get some rest, and next thing I know we are at Main Street and the rude B/O is yelling at me and the other passenger to get off the bus and transfer to a QM5 that pulled up next to us so this lazy driver didn't have to go into the city even though he is getting paid. 

 

it's one thing to transfer at 36th and 6th, but this is much more annoying since I pay almost 7 dollars to get some good shut eye before work, not to transfer between buses in Queens. Ridiculous. And there was no dispatcher or radio call telling the BO to do this, they just decided on their own. I've never seen this BO before, either

I'll be sending in a full complaint with all the details to the MTA, of course. 

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7 minutes ago, QM1to6Ave said:

@Via Garibaldi 8 I had a fun little new experience this morning...I got on the QM1, close my eyes to get some rest, and next thing I know we are at Main Street and the rude B/O is yelling at me and the other passenger to get off the bus and transfer to a QM5 that pulled up next to us so this lazy driver didn't have to go into the city even though he is getting paid. 

 

it's one thing to transfer at 36th and 6th, but this is much more annoying since I pay almost 7 dollars to get some good shut eye before work, not to transfer between buses in Queens. Ridiculous. And there was no dispatcher or radio call telling the BO to do this, they just decided on their own. I've never seen this BO before, either

I'll be sending in a full complaint with all the details to the MTA, of course. 

That's unacceptable. Before I even met with the (MTA) I sent a list of issues to the General Manager and noted all of the problems out of College Point Depot, including the whole not wanting to go up to 57th & 3rd, as well as passengers being forced to transfer at 6th & 36th, and in some cases, having to wait a substantial amount of time to do so.

@QM1to6Ave The transferring at 6th & 36th is usually when traffic is bad during the holiday season. What you described is nothing more than a lazy driver. Given how one of the union heads acts that represents that depot, none of this surprises me.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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@QM1to6Ave Something else I may have mentioned... Gotta be careful with some dispatchers.... There is one out of CP that looks out for some drivers. Haven't heard of any issues recently though, but just in case. Some of the dispatchers are former drivers, so there are cliques formed.

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33 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

@QM1to6Ave Something else I may have mentioned... Gotta be careful with some dispatchers.... There is one out of CP that looks out for some drivers. Haven't heard of any issues recently though, but just in case. Some of the dispatchers are former drivers, so there are cliques formed.

Yeah, I think I know who you are talking about. Most of them seem pretty good,when I have  interacted with them. Especially the one that personally came to my stop after the issue you helped with back in the height of the pandemic. 
 

anyway, I sent in the complaint and will  see if anything comes of it 

Edited by QM1to6Ave

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11 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

Yeah, I think I know who you are talking about. Most of them seem pretty good,when I have  interacted with them. Especially the one that personally came to my stop after the issue you helped with back in the height of the pandemic. 
 

anyway, I sent in the complaint and will  see if anything comes of it 

Yeah, keep me posted.

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2 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Yeah, keep me posted.

I just received one of the semi-personalized “we are sorry y0u had a difficult interaction with an employee, we will look into this using the info you provided and provide better Customer service’” responses this afternoon, which is pretty good since it is a holiday weekend. 

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On 2/13/2021 at 2:59 PM, QM1to6Ave said:

I just received one of the semi-personalized “we are sorry y0u had a difficult interaction with an employee, we will look into this using the info you provided and provide better Customer service’” responses this afternoon, which is pretty good since it is a holiday weekend. 

They are trying to be more customer oriented. Good group overall. I have never met Sarah Meyer in person, but she sent several of her Customer Service Team members to a meeting back in 2019.

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The late morning QM5s and QM6s to Manhattan have been packed recently...from about 9:30 till noon, every single row has one person in it, from what I’ve seen in the last few weeks.  Things seem to be starting to return to whatever the new normal will be (though it may not last with these variants coming into play for a while)

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28 minutes ago, QM1to6Ave said:

The late morning QM5s and QM6s to Manhattan have been packed recently...from about 9:30 till noon, every single row has one person in it, from what I’ve seen in the last few weeks.  Things seem to be starting to return to whatever the new normal will be (though it may not last with these variants coming into play for a while)

Express buses are generally running on-time too.

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21 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Express buses are generally running on-time too.

Yup, it’s been very good, especially in the mornings. Evenings have a lot of traffic, but that is outside the MTAs control

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Posted (edited)

A few announcements:

1. This week I spoke with the (MTA) regarding our petition (see response below) for the restoration of the monthly express bus pass and other measures. We were denied this time given the current fiscal situation, but we will take this petition up again as more details come out about OMNY & possible pass options & fare structures to ensure that we express bus commuters are part of the discussion. I want to thank the HUNDREDS of commuters that signed & liked our petition for Fair Fares for Express Bus Riders thus far. We have been petitioning Gov. Cuomo & the MTA Board for several months & received a response a few days ago.

2. We have also been pushing for bus stop replacement and repaving and received a call from the DOT about the following locations:

 

-BxM1, BxM2, BxM18 - W 230 St & Broadway & Henry Hudson Parkway W & W 246 St

-BxM8 - Bruckner Blvd & Castle Hill Av & Bruckner Blvd & E. Tremont Av.

-BxM3 - Sedgwick Av. & Bailey Av. (Southbound)

All of the aforementioned stops will have new lollipop style signage in the coming months. The DOT is short staffed, but they're hoping to replace them in the coming months.  Additionally, milling will start next week along Henry Hudson Parkway West from West 239th St down to Kappock Street in Riverdale.  We have asked for signage and detour info to be posted ASAP and we're awaiting particulars.  The repaving will impact the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 lines.  Henry Hudson Parkway East will be milled and paved afterwards.

3. Finally, lighting for the bus shelter located at East 69th St & 3rd Avenue will be looked at, which serves the BxM1. If there is a power source, we have asked that lighting be provided there, as the location is pitch black at night.  Additionally, we have requested that the bus pad at West 261st Street and Riverdale Avenue Southbound be replaced ASAP, which serves the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 lines, which is currently in terrible shape (see photo below).

 

158886023_10222204226027053_912043483961

159796978_10222204226107055_360830446056

158868614_10222204225907050_889098364661

155985245_10225681117601735_446024043199

 

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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7 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

A few announcements:

1. This week I spoke with the (MTA) regarding our petition (see response below) for the restoration of the monthly express bus pass and other measures. We were denied this time given the current fiscal situation, but we will take this petition up again as more details come out about OMNY & possible pass options & fare structures to ensure that we express bus commuters are part of the discussion. I want to thank the HUNDREDS of commuters that signed & liked our petition for Fair Fares for Express Bus Riders thus far. We have been petitioning Gov. Cuomo & the MTA Board for several months & received a response a few days ago.

2. We have also been pushing for bus stop replacement and repaving and received a call from the DOT about the following locations:

 

-BxM1, BxM2, BxM18 - W 230 St & Broadway & Henry Hudson Parkway W & W 246 St

-BxM8 - Bruckner Blvd & Castle Hill Av & Bruckner Blvd & E. Tremont Av.

-BxM3 - Sedgwick Av. & Bailey Av. (Southbound)

All of the aforementioned stops will have new lollipop style signage in the coming months. The DOT is short staffed, but they're hoping to replace them in the coming months.  Additionally, milling will start next week along Henry Hudson Parkway West from West 239th St down to Kappock Street in Riverdale.  We have asked for signage and detour info to be posted ASAP and we're awaiting particulars.  The repaving will impact the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 lines.  Henry Hudson Parkway East will be milled and paved afterwards.

3. Finally, lighting for the bus shelter located at East 69th St & 3rd Avenue will be looked at, which serves the BxM1. If there is a power source, we have asked that lighting be provided there, as the location is pitch black at night.  Additionally, we have requested that the bus pad at West 261st Street and Riverdale Avenue Southbound be replaced ASAP, which serves the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 lines, which is currently in terrible shape (see photo below).

 

158886023_10222204226027053_912043483961

159796978_10222204226107055_360830446056

158868614_10222204225907050_889098364661

155985245_10225681117601735_446024043199

 

Great work as usual, even if the outcome was not exactly as desired!

I was thinking earlier today of a post you made a while back about one B/O who is so slow that people purposely avoid this bus on one of the BxM's...there's this old white lady who operates some 3rd ave CP runs who is soooo slooow that I'm going to be avoiding her runs going forward LOL

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@Via Garibaldi 8 I think it's time for the MTA to start reconsidering blocking off the first two rows of seats on express buses...I'm on the 3:15 QM5 right now, and every single row is occupied. I was the last to get on the bus, so I actually had to slip into the second row of blocked seats so as to not sit next to someone else.

At this point, all B/O's have the curtains (whether or not they use them due to visibility issues is up to them) and they have all been eligible for vaccines for a while now. If passengers (many of whom may not yet be eligible for vaccines) are expected to sit one behind the other, why should the B/O have two rows plus a curtain between them and the passengers?  I get that they are driving for many hours per day, but not all of their runs are crush loaded, plus the mask mandate is still in full effect. 

If the MTA/unions don't want to consider that, then CP really needs more QM5 and 6 runs in the 2-4 pm weekday hours. The MTA can confirm with farebox data, these runs are consistently full now. Ridership is clearly back on the rise, especially during certain times of day.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

@Via Garibaldi 8 I think it's time for the MTA to start reconsidering blocking off the first two rows of seats on express buses...I'm on the 3:15 QM5 right now, and every single row is occupied. I was the last to get on the bus, so I actually had to slip into the second row of blocked seats so as to not sit next to someone else.

At this point, all B/O's have the curtains (whether or not they use them due to visibility issues is up to them) and they have all been eligible for vaccines for a while now. If passengers (many of whom may not yet be eligible for vaccines) are expected to sit one behind the other, why should the B/O have two rows plus a curtain between them and the passengers?  I get that they are driving for many hours per day, but not all of their runs are crush loaded, plus the mask mandate is still in full effect. 

If the MTA/unions don't want to consider that, then CP really needs more QM5 and 6 runs in the 2-4 pm weekday hours. The MTA can confirm with farebox data, these runs are consistently full now. Ridership is clearly back on the rise, especially during certain times of day.

It's something we're monitoring at the moment. The reality is there are still runs going unfilled because of driver shortages every day in part because of COVID, so I'm not so sure how the unions would feel about having the chains removed, and it may create even more problems. We are also seeing cases rise in some areas as restrictions are lifted, so we could see more spikes, and that is another concern.

From what I have heard from some drivers, they want the chains to remain, and so I would imagine most unions support that stance.

UPDATE: I've had some discussions with some people about it and it's being looked at.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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1 hour ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It's something we're monitoring at the moment. The reality is there are still runs going unfilled because of driver shortages every day in part because of COVID, so I'm not so sure how the unions would feel about having the chains removed, and it may create even more problems. We are also seeing cases rise in some areas as restrictions are lifted, so we could see more spikes, and that is another concern.

From what I have heard from some drivers, they want the chains to remain, and so I would imagine most unions support that stance.

UPDATE: I've had some discussions with some people about it and it's being looked at.

Much appreciated as always!

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Posted (edited)

Felt like this would be relevant here.

It's confirmed that Academy's Perth Amboy Garage will be closing down. The SIM23/SIM24 will be moved over to Hoboken Garage. Service reliability may go up due to this, as Hoboken Garage has some of the best maintenance throughout Academy's system. I'm not sure what fleet of buses will be used when the move happens, but it's definitely not going to be the NJT State buses. It'll likely stay with the Vanhools.

I just wonder how they'll deal with the deadheads to Staten Island for the AM rush.

Edited by Cait Sith
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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Cait Sith said:

Felt like this would be relevant here.

It's confirmed that Academy's Perth Amboy Garage will be closing down. The SIM23/SIM24 will be moved over to Hoboken Garage. Service reliability may go up due to this, as Hoboken Garage has some of the best maintenance throughout Academy's system. I'm not sure what fleet of buses will be used when the move happens, but it's definitely not going to be the NJT State buses. It'll likely stay with the Vanhools.

I just wonder how they'll deal with the deadheads to Staten Island for the AM rush.

I'm surprised the MTA didn't exercise the Prevost option order by now. Guess they're waiting for more funds to come in or trying to figure out if the money is worth it.

Edited by MysteriousBtrain
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4 hours ago, Cait Sith said:

Felt like this would be relevant here.

It's confirmed that Academy's Perth Amboy Garage will be closing down. The SIM23/SIM24 will be moved over to Hoboken Garage. Service reliability may go up due to this, as Hoboken Garage has some of the best maintenance throughout Academy's system. I'm not sure what fleet of buses will be used when the move happens, but it's definitely not going to be the NJT State buses. It'll likely stay with the Vanhools.

I just wonder how they'll deal with the deadheads to Staten Island for the AM rush.

Is Academy downsizing because of pandemic-related losses? (Or that big lawsuit that came out recently with NJ, if I'm remembering correctly)

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4 hours ago, Cait Sith said:

Felt like this would be relevant here.

It's confirmed that Academy's Perth Amboy Garage will be closing down. The SIM23/SIM24 will be moved over to Hoboken Garage. Service reliability may go up due to this, as Hoboken Garage has some of the best maintenance throughout Academy's system. I'm not sure what fleet of buses will be used when the move happens, but it's definitely not going to be the NJT State buses. It'll likely stay with the Vanhools.

I just wonder how they'll deal with the deadheads to Staten Island for the AM rush.

Hopefully the NYC EDC fights aggressively to disband this contract and the (MTA)  pick up those lines when this current Academy contract expires...

There should be no reason for Hoboken to pick up those lines and deadhead to Staten Island to start service especially during AM rush.. Is the travel time from Hoboken to the SIM 23/24 stops pretty close? If so, I could see it working out.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Future ENY OP said:

Hopefully the NYC EDC fights aggressively to disband this contract and the (MTA)  pick up those lines when this current Academy contract expires...

There should be no reason for Hoboken to pick up those lines and deadhead to Staten Island to start service especially during AM rush.. Is the travel time from Hoboken to the SIM 23/24 stops pretty close? If so, I could see it working out.

The advantage might be more reliable service in the PM rush, since it's right near Manhattan. (On the other hand, maybe they already have those buses layover in Hoboken during the midday hours)

For the AM deadhead it would probably be I-78 - I-95 - I-278 - NY-440 to the South Shore, or NJ-440 - NY-440 (basically either via the Goethals or Bayonne...I doubt they'd take I-95 down to the Outerbridge though of course it is an option). Traffic usually isn't an issue in that direction so as long as the deadhead times are reasonable, buses should hopefully be on-time.

The big question is, is EDC picking up the cost for the extra deadheading or is Academy eating the cost?

Edited by checkmatechamp13
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, checkmatechamp13 said:

The advantage might be more reliable service in the PM rush, since it's right near Manhattan. (On the other hand, maybe they already have those buses layover in Hoboken during the midday hours)

For the AM deadhead it would probably be I-78 - I-95 - I-278 - NY-440 to the South Shore, or NJ-440 - NY-440 (basically either via the Goethals or Bayonne...I doubt they'd take I-95 down to the Outerbridge though of course it is an option). Traffic usually isn't an issue in that direction so as long as the deadhead times are reasonable, buses should hopefully be on-time.

The big question is, is EDC picking up the cost for the extra deadheading or is Academy eating the cost?

You are absolutely correct @checkmatechamp13...

Also remember NY-440 connects and ends at 278 for the VNB to Bay RIdge & Red Hook/Downtown for the BBT.

Edited by Future ENY OP

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5 hours ago, MysteriousBtrain said:

I'm surprised the MTA didn't exercise the Prevost option order by now. Guess they're waiting for more funds to come in or trying to figure out if the money is worth it.

Well Staten Island is set to receive about 50 new express buses. Some of those buses will be used to provide more service and of course retire the old MCI buses. James Oddo has regular conference calls with the (MTA) about SIM service and has been now for a few years, and I can assure you that the SIM23 & SIM24 have been discussed numerous times. Ideally Staten Island elected officials would like those lines to be taken oven eventually by the (MTA) . The question of course is having enough buses, drivers, etc. As it is now, there has been an ongoing driver shortage. Prior to COVID, bus shortage was a big problem. Something else I'm not clear on is how much capacity Staten Island has for any sort of service expansions. Charleston Depot was pretty much accounted for before it even opened, with Yukon and Castleton being overcapacity for years. When I lived on Staten Island, there was talk of another depot eventually opening, but that has not come to fruition.

2 hours ago, QM1to6Ave said:

Is Academy downsizing because of pandemic-related losses? (Or that big lawsuit that came out recently with NJ, if I'm remembering correctly)

I think they've been stretched too thin for a while now, as evidenced by the lawsuit NJ Transit brought on for their poor service performance and ongoing missing trip issues. As for the SIM23/SIM24, see above. I'll add that a number of those riders have not been happy with the service for years, but you also have some riders that like the service and cringe at the thought of the (MTA) taking over, but the reality is it'll happen. It's just a question of when.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Future ENY OP said:

You are absolutely correct @checkmatechamp13...

Also remember NY-440 connects and ends at 278 for the VNB to Bay RIdge & Red Hook/Downtown for the BBT.

The interesting thing about NY-440 is that technically it's continuous. (So that portion of the Staten Island Expressway between the MLK and West Shore Expressway is technically both a portion of I-278 and NY-440).

The same thing with the Trans-Manhattan Expressway & Cross-Bronx Expressway (west of Webster Avenue). Technically they are portions of I-95 and U.S.1 (and the GWB itself carries I-95, U.S.1, and U.S.9)

Edited by checkmatechamp13
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The DOT has agreed with our request to move the Northbound BxM1 bus stop from between 85th & 86th Street on 3rd Avenue to between 86th & 87th St on 3rd Avenue, which should facilitate easier boarding for BxM1 riders. This was something we requested some months ago, but because of COVID and worker shortages, things took longer.  Appreciate the DOT's efforts to finally get this done.

Additionally, repaving along the Henry Hudson Parkway Service Roads has begun from West 239th St to Kappock St. Milling started along Henry Hudson Parkway West and paving should be done in a few weeks at the latest. Henry Hudson Parkway East will be milled and paved sometime after that.

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Bus stop replacement and moving has begun.... The bus stop at Henry Hudson Parkway West & West 246th St in Riverdale has been replaced, with new signage to follow soon. The BxM1 stop at 86th & 3rd has been moved to 87th & 3rd where the BxM10 stops. These changes should be provide safer boarding, better bus stop visibility and in some cases bus shelter access that riders that did not previously, such as the new bus BxM1 bus stop at 86th & 3rd.

174114781_10159088631097733_428696461729

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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