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+Young+

The last RTS bus in circulation makes its final run

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https://www.amny.com/transit/rts-bus-mta-1.30744657?fbclid=IwAR2uW6Pyr5w5qQ9mrqfstAziQwFDPhWYQfXXXBscqhOMhB79c1HnlGPcbRQ

(May 6th, 2019)

An iconic MTA bus model took one last crawl through New York City traffic on Monday.

Gawkers gathered among commuters as the last Rapid Transit Series, or RTS, bus completed its final M55 route from Manhattan’s Midtown West down to the Financial District. The white-and-blue bus, with its signature curved windshield and chrome headlights, dated back to 1981 and was ubiquitous through New York City in the 1980s and 1990s.

“This is the bus of my childhood, you know, riding them to school. I grew up with them in Queens and the Bronx," said Kareem Williams, 27, of Springfield Gardens, who rode the whole route just to be on the bus one last time. “It is a little bittersweet.”

The buses, which burned diesel, were not environmentally friendly by today’s standards. They were wheelchair-accessible in theory, though riders had long complained of habitually broken lifts. A recent report found that in Brooklyn, poorer neighborhoods such as East New York and Brownsville were served by an inordinately high number of the RTS buses before they were finally retired. All the more reason for the MTA to celebrate its farewell. 

Bus operators on Monday gathered around the last bus, which went into service in 1999, to take photos before it left the Michael J. Quill Depot.

“I’m going to miss these buses,” one operator lamented.

“We all miss these buses,” another assured.

To operators, the RTS was known for its futuristic look and for being the first models to feature power steering. More than 4,000 RTS’s once lumbered through the streets of New York. Darryl Irick, president of the MTA bus company, drove the buses as an operator, just like his father did.

“It does bring back fond memories of my dad ….at the time I came on the job in 1986 this was one of the new buses, so we clamored as bus operators to try and get one of those buses,” Irick said. “It brings back very fond memories of a very special time in my life and my career.”

The MTA’s goal is to keep buses in service for 12 years, though it often doesn’t hit that target; fifteen years is more typical, said Irick. As the authority phased out the RTS, it transitioned to clean diesel or hybrid engines, and has more recently begun testing out all-electric buses, pledging to convert its entire fleet of roughly 5,500 buses to such models by 2040. There are currently more than 3,000 clean diesel buses in the MTA's fleet, along with another 1,700 hybrid-electric buses and 745 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.

As of Monday, the MTA is piloting 10 leased electric buses and is capable of charging them at two depots: At Michael J. Quill and the Grand Avenue Depot, which serves Brooklyn and Queens. It recently bought another 15 all-electric articulated buses for the M14 route along with more charging equipment at the Michael J. Quill Depot, as well.

There are plans to purchase another 45 electric buses this year, and the MTA hopes to buy “hundreds” more through the soon-to-be-unveiled capital plan for 2020 to 2024. 

“All these [electric] batteries now have a battery thermal management system: In the winter, it warms them up; in the summer it keeps them cold,” said Ashley Rose, who oversees the MTA’s electric bus program. “They like to be about 70 degrees … we try very hard to keep them that way,”

But the power source doesn’t make bus service any more reliable. The last RTS was stuck in traffic, stalled in several light cycles as it moved from the depot along 42nd Street. Advocates rank the route as one of the worst in the city, with buses on the route moving at 4.3 miles per hour — just more than a mile-per-hour faster than the average human’s walking speed.

“This costs us money,” said Irick, frustrated while riding along the slow-moving RTS.

Riders have fled bus service as the MTA struggles with speed and reliability issues. Annual ridership on New York City Transit bus service dropped nearly 8.5% between 2010 and 2017, from 697 million to 638 million, according to the city’s most recent mobility report.

At the depot, Irick touted new initiatives the MTA is working on with the city, such as expanding the use of technology to give buses priority as they try to get through intersections, redesigning each borough’s routes and taking on a small pilot of bus-mounted cameras to ticket bus-lane blockers — programs outlined in the authority’s 2018 Bus Plan to improve service.

“You’ll see iterative steps of progression in the various aspects of our overall bus plan,” he said.

Many of the camera-toting riders who flocked to the M55 for the last RTS run didn’t care how fast the bus was moving. One commuter trying to get across town, however, just shook his head.

“I’m not impressed by any of this crap,” he said after being alerted to the news. “It’s just a bus.”

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Nice note ending with the random a**hole at the end...

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17 minutes ago, +Young+ said:

“This costs us money,” said Irick, frustrated while riding along the slow-moving RTS.

Even on a farewell trip this guy's still bean counting, lmao.

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13 minutes ago, paulrivera said:

Even on a farewell trip this guy's still bean counting, lmao.

Congestion will do that.

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Posted (edited)
Quote

“This costs us money,” said Irick, frustrated while riding along the slow-moving RTS.

This ole Spacely Sprocket ass mother*****.....

Irick has been a real uptight a**hole as of late... His job on the line or something?
 

Quote

Many of the camera-toting riders who flocked to the M55 for the last RTS run didn’t care how fast the bus was moving. One commuter trying to get across town, however, just shook his head.

 

“I’m not impressed by any of this crap,” he said after being alerted to the news. “It’s just a bus.” 

No, it's not just a bus, joker - it's hundreds of them..... Fully functional ones too.

You are the last person I want to hear bitching about bus service; then again, this guy probably doesn't even take public transportation.... Perfectly exhibited snotrag attitude....

Edited by B35 via Church
misread....
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9 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

Irick has been a real uptight a**hole as of late... His job on the line or something?

There's a rumor out about him. I'll just leave it at that. You hear about it soon publicly.

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9 minutes ago, B35 via Church said:

This ole Spacely Sprocket ass mother*****.....

Irick has been a real uptight a**hole as of late... His job on the line or something?

God, I hope so. If there's one guy that the prince from Albany should toss on their rear end, it should be Irick.

2 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

There's a rumor out about him. I'll just leave it at that. You hear about it soon publicly.

The rumor that he's intentionally tanking bus service to justify service cuts and cost savings? We knew that already stirthepot.gif

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10 minutes ago, paulrivera said:

God, I hope so. If there's one guy that the prince from Albany should toss on their rear end, it should be Irick.

The rumor that he's intentionally tanking bus service to justify service cuts and cost savings? We knew that already stirthepot.gif

Let's just say his age is getting up there... May be time to put in the papers...

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5 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Let's just say his age is getting up there... May be time to put in the papers...

In that case, thank goodness he came in as a B/O originally so we can toss him out on his golden parachute. He'll have a nice fat pension and hopefully we'll have a more open minded bus chief.

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Just now, paulrivera said:

In that case, thank goodness he came in as a B/O originally so we can toss him out on his golden parachute. He'll have a nice fat pension and hopefully we'll have a more open minded bus chief.

Don't count on it.  If it's who I think it would be... 

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19 hours ago, +Young+ said:

 

“I’m not impressed by any of this crap,” he said after being alerted to the news. “It’s just a bus.”

I appreciate your input, but please, f off.

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15 minutes ago, KK 6 Ave Local said:

I appreciate your input, but please, f off.

The only thing about him & his types I would appreciate, is if they were all forced to "retire"...... It's enough that we have as many people in this city ditching (or minimizing their use of) public transit, because they're fed up with the quality of service...

Last thing I want to hear from, is some jackass anti' & his snide remarks belitting public transit.

 

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Irick should have been put in his papers. 1986 is what, 33 years ago?

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1 hour ago, Q43LTD said:

Irick should have been put in his papers. 1986 is what, 33 years ago?

Correct.

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1 hour ago, Q43LTD said:

Irick should have been put in his papers. 1986 is what, 33 years ago?

He's not 55 yet tho, but I'm guessing that milestone is going to happen soon.

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What's with all the hate on Irick? At least he worked his way up through the company. He knows operations, which is important; a guy like Prendergast was always on the safety/executive side of stuff, which is partly why we had the timer craze of the past few years. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MHV9218 said:

What's with all the hate on Irick? At least he worked his way up through the company. He knows operations, which is important; a guy like Prendergast was always on the safety/executive side of stuff, which is partly why we had the timer craze of the past few years. 

You can work your way up and still not use whatever skills or qualifications you have for the better. His responses regarding reductions in bus service (both local and express buses) leaves a lot to be desired, and shows a big disconnect between him and bus riders. Good that he understands operations, but that doesn't help riders on already crush loaded, high ridership bus routes, which get their service reduced for the sake of being "cost-neutral". 

Edited by BM5 via Woodhaven
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6 hours ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

You can work your way up and still not use whatever skills or qualifications you have for the better....

That's for sure.... and worse, it's more often than not, completely out of your hands, too.

Hell, it's exemplary of those that hold positions in corporate America....... You do as you are told, or you'll be hittin the road.

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7 hours ago, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

You can work your way up and still not use whatever skills or qualifications you have for the better. His responses regarding reductions in bus service (both local and express buses) leaves a lot to be desired, and shows a big disconnect between him and bus riders. Good that he understands operations, but that doesn't help riders on already crush loaded, high ridership bus routes, which get their service reduced for the sake of being "cost-neutral". 

If you have packed buses and high-ridership routes that get service cuts, you're not good at operations -- whether you just sign-off on what your planners concoct or actually involve yourself. And it's plain to see that all of Irick's "operations knowledge because of coming up through the ranks" hasn't amounted to a hill of beans. Just the irregularity of "quality of service" behind the scenes across the depots speaks for itself.

A real "transportation director" may not get their hands into everything that happens on a daily basis, but has competent people that he can hold responsible, and get prompt action from when problems arise. Questioning what comes before you is important, and AFAIC, Irick pays scant attention to the MTA's own service-assessment parameters and results. In that regard, @Via Garibaldi 8's group of customers point out all the trips unfilled, post pictures of half-assed/no-assed conditions on your own "premium transport" buses, and schedules that are just a plain inconvenience to those customers -- BUT prior to these customers' involvement, everything was going swimmingly. (With the Staten Island bus fiasco being the one hot issue that gets a bit of a mention being an anomaly.)

Byford may be playing both sides when he's doing his rounds with his "paparazzi" on the subway, etc., but when's the last time the MTA photogs trailed Irick out on his own buses (or at stops waiting for his own buses to finally show up) to gauge the conditions/what customers say? THAT is a key way to find out just how competent the people reporting to you are, and also a good way to CYA at the same time.

Good riddance.

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13 hours ago, MHV9218 said:

What's with all the hate on Irick? At least he worked his way up through the company. He knows operations, which is important; a guy like Prendergast was always on the safety/executive side of stuff, which is partly why we had the timer craze of the past few years. 

I'm not going to speak about the man personally because I don't know him and I have never met him, though he has heard from me now on several occasions either from me speaking before the (MTA) Board or via e-mail, and at least since I have started the advocacy group, there has been an effort to improve service on some lines.  HOWEVER, service has really been HORRIBLE for the last several years now, and I'm excluding all of the issues with traffic since that is under the DOT. Putting that aside, the amount of no-shows... Someone has to be held accountable for that, and when you sit before the board at a public meeting and blame changing demographics as part of the reason for the decline in ridership when these same areas he's referencing have constant complaints about no-show buses, I'd say as @BM5 via Woodhaven said, there's a disconnect with your riding public. I have fielded so many complaints from exasperated commuters complaining about being left STRANDED because their bus NEVER came.  That is not only frustrating, but it means that those people have to scramble to find another way home, often times spending additional monies to do so.  It's a story that I have heard countless times, and that is the bare basics of service, and it is ALL over the City... Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island... Doesn't matter...

There's also been TONS of issues with buses being poorly maintained... Passengers being evacuated numerous times as buses break down on the Gowanus, and this is not during the heart of the summer either.  I could go on... I've had to put tons of pressure on the (MTA) just to get them to run their own service, and we're not talking about buses being on-time. Just having the buses actually show up, and then he acts as if he is puzzled as to why ridership has been declining for the last several years.  Years ago I could never recall seeing the amount of missing scheduled buses that I was seeing late last year. You come out ready to get the bus to go to work and no bus.... Not one day, not two days, three days in a row!! That is poor management at its finest.  Only after speaking before the board and having several meetings with the (MTA) and getting elected officials involved have we seen a bit of stability, and I think that's pretty damn sad all and all that riders should have to go through that just to get their buses to show up.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, DetSMART45 said:

If you have packed buses and high-ridership routes that get service cuts, you're not good at operations -- whether you just sign-off on what your planners concoct or actually involve yourself. And it's plain to see that all of Irick's "operations knowledge because of coming up through the ranks" hasn't amounted to a hill of beans. Just the irregularity of "quality of service" behind the scenes across the depots speaks for itself.

A real "transportation director" may not get their hands into everything that happens on a daily basis, but has competent people that he can hold responsible, and get prompt action from when problems arise. Questioning what comes before you is important, and AFAIC, Irick pays scant attention to the MTA's own service-assessment parameters and results. In that regard, @Via Garibaldi 8's group of customers point out all the trips unfilled, post pictures of half-assed/no-assed conditions on your own "premium transport" buses, and schedules that are just a plain inconvenience to those customers -- BUT prior to these customers' involvement, everything was going swimmingly. (With the Staten Island bus fiasco being the one hot issue that gets a bit of a mention being an anomaly.)

Byford may be playing both sides when he's doing his rounds with his "paparazzi" on the subway, etc., but when's the last time the MTA photogs trailed Irick out on his own buses (or at stops waiting for his own buses to finally show up) to gauge the conditions/what customers say? THAT is a key way to find out just how competent the people reporting to you are, and also a good way to CYA at the same time.

Good riddance.

Byford rides the subways.... I don't know if Irick rides the buses, but over the last several years, it just seems as if oversight has gone down.  No sense of dispatching on certain lines, so you had guys skipping entire sections of routes leaving people stranded waiting an hour for the next bus because the guy either didn't know he was supposed to pick up Downtown, or he just felt he could skip that part of the route with no repercussions, and that is with the (MTA) being able to track their buses. That should not be happening with any regularity, and the fact that it was just shows how lax things had become. They should always be watching their service like a hawk to ensure that stops are being made and that the drivers know the routes.  

I speak with people in the know now regularly and we discuss service issues and the like. They've been around the block a few times to say the least and they know how things work at the (MTA). Dispatchers doing drivers favors and looking the other way for example... There are other things that go on that negatively impact service and that looking the other way may mean allowing a driver to find any old excuse or BS "defect" with their bus to get pulled from service so that they don't have to do their trip and still get paid.  Ridiculous things like that, but hey who cares if the passengers don't get their bus? They'll just "get the next one"...

A large majority of dispatchers and drivers give a damn, but there are always the few that spoil it for everyone else.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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Looks like the guy at the end hasn't had some action in a while, like for real that attitude tho.

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7 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

I'm not going to speak about the man personally because I don't know him and I have never met him, though he has heard from me now on several occasions either from me speaking before the (MTA) Board or via e-mail, and at least since I have started the advocacy group, there has been an effort to improve service on some lines.  HOWEVER, service has really been HORRIBLE for the last several years now, and I'm excluding all of the issues with traffic since that is under the DOT. Putting that aside, the amount of no-shows... Someone has to be held accountable for that, and when you sit before the board at a public meeting and blame changing demographics as part of the reason for the decline in ridership when these same areas he's referencing have constant complaints about no-show buses, I'd say as @BM5 via Woodhaven said, there's a disconnect with your riding public. I have fielded so many complaints from exasperated commuters complaining about being left STRANDED because their bus NEVER came.  That is not only frustrating, but it means that those people have to scramble to find another way home, often times spending additional monies to do so.  It's a story that I have heard countless times, and that is the bare basics of service, and it is ALL over the City... Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island... Doesn't matter...

There's also been TONS of issues with buses being poorly maintained... Passengers being evacuated numerous times as buses break down on the Gowanus, and this is not during the heart of the summer either.  I could go on... I've had to put tons of pressure on the (MTA) just to get them to run their own service, and we're not talking about buses being on-time. Just having the buses actually show up, and then he acts as if he is puzzled as to why ridership has been declining for the last several years.  Years ago I could never recall seeing the amount of missing scheduled buses that I was seeing late last year. You come out ready to get the bus to go to work and no bus.... Not one day, not two days, three days in a row!! That is poor management at its finest.  Only after speaking before the board and having several meetings with the (MTA) and getting elected officials involved have we seen a bit of stability, and I think that's pretty damn sad all and all that riders should have to go through that just to get their buses to show up.

I'll go even farther and say that it's not simply a disconnect, but an openly, in your face, middle-finger salute. Accompanied by the shrug of the shoulders, and look of, "What the f*** you gonna do about it. Suck it up, we run the show."

Once again, the "Director of Buses", or whatever his big, prestigious title is, has NO IDEA OF WHAT IS GOING ON. (Reread that article and listen to him moan about traffic conditions "costing him money" -- he didn't KNOW that already on that route?)

And if it wasn't for CUSTOMERS complaining loud enough, the small advancements on the Express Bus side wouldn't have occurred. (And in mere MONTHS, if you haven't been following the Express Bus topic. Pretty damn good, I'd say.)

Sorry for sidetracking the RTS thread, but just like all good things must come to an end (the glorious RTS on NYC streets), maybe incompetence in MTA management will follow.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, DetSMART45 said:

I'll go even farther and say that it's not simply a disconnect, but an openly, in your face, middle-finger salute. Accompanied by the shrug of the shoulders, and look of, "What the f*** you gonna do about it. Suck it up, we run the show."

Once again, the "Director of Buses", or whatever his big, prestigious title is, has NO IDEA OF WHAT IS GOING ON. (Reread that article and listen to him moan about traffic conditions "costing him money" -- he didn't KNOW that already on that route?)

And if it wasn't for CUSTOMERS complaining loud enough, the small advancements on the Express Bus side wouldn't have occurred. (And in mere MONTHS, if you haven't been following the Express Bus topic. Pretty damn good, I'd say.)

Sorry for sidetracking the RTS thread, but just like all good things must come to an end (the glorious RTS on NYC streets), maybe incompetence in MTA management will follow.

The funny thing is that I've been getting requests from people to cover the local routes too because they don't think that the other advocacy groups out there do enough.  Can't say I disagree.  A lot of them just scream that "the (MTA) needs more funding". FUND THE MTA. No, what they need is advocacy groups holding them accountable to provide the service on the schedule!! That means when a driver is out sick or on vacation, that they have guys on standby to take over, which they have been cutting back on.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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On 5/9/2019 at 10:39 AM, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

The funny thing is that I've been getting requests from people to cover the local routes too because they don't think that the other advocacy groups out there do enough.  Can't say I disagree.  A lot of them just scream that "the (MTA) needs more funding". FUND THE MTA. No, what they need is advocacy groups holding them accountable to provide the service on the schedule!! That means when a driver is out sick or on vacation, that they have guys on standby to take over, which they have been cutting back on.

Somma these ignorant folks need to stop wit this. The (MTA) don't need any more money, period. The need to get their current finances under control, thankfully more & more people are realising this. They get funding left, right and center & its never enough.

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