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Select Bus Service Discussion Thread

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I agree. DOT has, in the past, revised redesigns in response to pressure from both grassroots organizations and community boards (I'm not saying they do this all the time, but they have), so for someone to say the MTA, an actual organization with actual funding that owns at least $1T in physical assets and is integral to the city economy, has no clout with DOT, is quite absurd.

 

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Okay great again facts we're almost 10 years with SBS in where's the progress? Matter fact where's the beef? If this is clout I hate to be the person really on there hit list.

 

 

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The thing is that with bus lanes, those delays have an actual cost. If you can save 10 minutes of runtime on each trip, you might be able to cover a whole route with say, 10 buses (and operators) instead of 12. And bus lanes reduce the variability in runtime as well, so you can reduce the amount of situations where a B/O is stuck in traffic beyond the already-increased runtime, and you have to pay them overtime. And then of course, there's the cost of reduced ridership where that's money that the MTA could be getting from passengers if the service was more reliable.

Indeed I can see this point makes total sense. Not saying it can't be done and this is not directed toward you persay. Just simply saying when you have to work and depend on someone else you don't have full control of things like your time or money to your point here. It's the difference between having your own car and having the freedom come and go as you please and having to wait for something to pick you up simplest analogy I can think of. Yeah you'll get to your destination but there things out of your control when relying on another entity nothing more or less.

 

 

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Edited by RailRunRob

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I don't know for sure if they've reached or to what degree i'd argue the fact that you don't know as well we don't work for either of these agencies. The picture I'm simply painting is getting two agencies maybe even three or four in this case with the City and State DOTs and NYPD to work together with totally different priorities, structures funding and even motives. You're at a disadvantage to start with that said can you get it done sure!! Hard to get four different agencies to focus on the goal and except accountability. I'm fully aware of Signal priority especially from a technical or the backend standpoint. Okay fair. Who are you saying has the lead for the deploying technology it's all RF and yeah the MTA I can cover the buses The DOT would still need add the street hardware that still requires inter-agency cooperation. Just don't know any government Agency or business to operate in this way especially if it's not a joint incentive to get things done. Be a lot further in everything if this were the case! Again my POV.

I've been to enough meetings (especially in the last few years) with city agencies to know a thing or two about things work.  Additionally, given the (MTA) 's attitude about the situation being out of their control, I'm fairly confident that they haven't because they've been drilled numerous times publicly about what they're doing to improve bus service, and not once has any of the things that have been discussed here been brought up by the (MTA).  Even the DOT has touted the M86 as a "success".  It's improved, but certainly not a success, and I'd go one further in saying that I wouldn't be surprised if ridership went down.  Both agencies are too busy with their heads in the clouds to take care of such issues.

 

 

DOT progress report shows travel time on M86 Select Bus Service has improved by more than 10%, while taxi traffic has declined by more than 30% since Q train opening.

 

New York, NY— New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and transportation advocates today announced that an array of transit improvements over the last year have transformed the Upper East Side from a so-called “transit desert” into a “Transit Garden.”   They stood together at a new Q station stop at 2nd Avenue and 86th Street, celebrating the numerous transit, traffic, and safety improvements that now complement the new Second Avenue Subway -- including faster MTA Select Bus Service (SBS), a new Second Avenue protected bike lane and Citi Bike.   The Commissioner also released a progress report on the success of the M86 SBS route, while noting TLC data showing a 32 percent decrease in taxi trips from the Upper East Side to Midtown since Q train service began.

 

Source: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pr2017/pr17-031.shtml

 

How exactly does one even quantify their assessment of travel time improvement? It's a joke.  10% compared to what? They don't say.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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BTW, just a few interesting reports I found (if a little outdated):

 

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp90v1_cs/NewYork.pdf

 

http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/pubs/bus-rapid-transit-accelerating-new-york%27s-bus-system-report_0.pdf

 

http://www.rpa.org/pdf/gowanus.pdf

 

Apparently Staten Island had the first bus-only lane back in 1963 (along Victory Blvd between Forest & Bay to get buses to the ferry quicker).

 

I was looking for an exact date on the closure of the westbound Gowanus bus lane, but I couldn't find anything. All it said was that used to be lanes by coming out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (I remember Brooklyn-bound buses used to be able to use one of the Manhattan-bound lanes) until the merge with the BQE, but it didn't say anything about when they were closed. I mean, FWIW, with all the construction on the Gowanus, they probably closed it temporarily to do construction work and then never bothered to reopen it. I remember maybe in 2015 or so, they closed the center lane of the southbound Gowanus and you had the cars & buses split up into two sections, so maybe it was around that time.

 

I will say that the worst traffic jams I've seen on the Gowanus have been on the northbound/Manhattan-bound side, so at least they kept the most important side. Leaving Manhattan in general usually isn't as bad because you don't have as many bottlenecks. 

 

On another note, I read that the 49th/50th Street buses used to have a combined 7,500 riders per weekday. Now it's down to less than 3,000. I know they eliminated the M27, but even looking at the past few years (combined ridership was around 5,000 around the 2010 service cuts), it looks like basically all the M27 riders resorted to other means, and the M50 continues to lose ridership. 

 

How exactly does one even quantify their assessment of travel time improvement? It's a joke.  10% compared to what? They don't say.

 

Presumably compared to travel times before SBS implementation. But yes, I would agree that they should specify something like "Weighted average based on the number of buses and/or riders traveling during a particular timeframe".

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They practically did that with the M34/M34A. 34th Street corridor was pushed way ahead of schedule.

I thought it was behind schedule with all the back and forth with the merchants that changed the original plan which was supposed to get bus passengers from river to river in only 15 minutes. That would have been great, but we wound up with a plan that onl saves three minutes because merchants and residents rejected the original plan. Big deal and a big waste.

BTW, just a few interesting reports I found (if a little outdated):

 

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp90v1_cs/NewYork.pdf

 

http://www.utrc2.org/sites/default/files/pubs/bus-rapid-transit-accelerating-new-york's-bus-system-report_0.pdf

 

http://www.rpa.org/pdf/gowanus.pdf

 

Apparently Staten Island had the first bus-only lane back in 1963 (along Victory Blvd between Forest & Bay to get buses to the ferry quicker).

 

I was looking for an exact date on the closure of the westbound Gowanus bus lane, but I couldn't find anything. All it said was that used to be lanes by coming out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (I remember Brooklyn-bound buses used to be able to use one of the Manhattan-bound lanes) until the merge with the BQE, but it didn't say anything about when they were closed. I mean, FWIW, with all the construction on the Gowanus, they probably closed it temporarily to do construction work and then never bothered to reopen it. I remember maybe in 2015 or so, they closed the center lane of the southbound Gowanus and you had the cars & buses split up into two sections, so maybe it was around that time.

 

I will say that the worst traffic jams I've seen on the Gowanus have been on the northbound/Manhattan-bound side, so at least they kept the most important side. Leaving Manhattan in general usually isn't as bad because you don't have as many bottlenecks. 

 

On another note, I read that the 49th/50th Street buses used to have a combined 7,500 riders per weekday. Now it's down to less than 3,000. I know they eliminated the M27, but even looking at the past few years (combined ridership was around 5,000 around the 2010 service cuts), it looks like basically all the M27 riders resorted to other means, and the M50 continues to lose ridership. 

 

 

 

Presumably compared to travel times before SBS implementation. But yes, I would agree that they should specify something like "Weighted average based on the number of buses and/or riders traveling during a particular timeframe".

And they implemented the thru streets program for 49/50 St which barred virtually all turns off the street and was supposed to have greatly sped traffic. So what happened?

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On another note, I read that the 49th/50th Street buses used to have a combined 7,500 riders per weekday. Now it's down to less than 3,000. I know they eliminated the M27, but even looking at the past few years (combined ridership was around 5,000 around the 2010 service cuts), it looks like basically all the M27 riders resorted to other means, and the M50 continues to lose ridership. 

 

 

I thought it was behind schedule with all the back and forth with the merchants that changed the original plan which was supposed to get bus passengers from river to river in only 15 minutes. That would have been great, but we wound up with a plan that onl saves three minutes because merchants and residents rejected the original plan. Big deal and a big waste.

 

And they implemented the thru streets program for 49/50 St which barred virtually all turns off the street and was supposed to have greatly sped traffic. So what happened?

The M50 is a mess because there is endless cranes set up in either East or West Midtown on weekends, and if that isn't going on, there's some other nonsense that forces that bus to detour all the way up to 57th street.  Nobody is going to put up with that nonsense.  I myself have often times walked instead of taking the M50.  By the time you wait and then take the bus, you could already be at your destination, not to mention that the bus may leave you further away from where it normally would anyway.  The headways also suck so that when those buses detour, the waits can be extensive.  In this case, there isn't much the (MTA) can do and we both know they aren't going to add more service to make the route more attractive, so that line is becoming an afterthought.

I thought it was behind schedule with all the back and forth with the merchants that changed the original plan which was supposed to get bus passengers from river to river in only 15 minutes. That would have been great, but we wound up with a plan that onl saves three minutes because merchants and residents rejected the original plan. Big deal and a big waste.

 

And they implemented the thru streets program for 49/50 St which barred virtually all turns off the street and was supposed to have greatly sped traffic. So what happened?

The M50 is a mess because there is endless cranes set up in either East or West Midtown on weekends, and if that isn't going on, there's some other nonsense that forces that bus to detour all the way up to 57th street.  Nobody is going to put up with that nonsense.  I myself have often times walked instead of taking the M50.  By the time you wait and then take the bus, you could already be at 

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On Kings Highway between Ocean Avenue & Avenue K, are they planning to put bus lanes on the main road, or on the service roads? I think it'd be absurd to take up a lane in each direction on the main road, where traffic already moves fairly well.

 

They are going to take up a lane in each direction. This is what true BRT is like.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/downloads/pdf/brt-south-brooklyn-b82-cb14-may2017.pdf

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Do you feel your putting to much on the MTA? SBS isn't true BRT after all.

The MTA puts it on themselves in this case; they tout SBS as BRT....

 

The M50 is a mess because there is endless cranes set up in either East or West Midtown on weekends, and if that isn't going on, there's some other nonsense that forces that bus to detour all the way up to 57th street.  Nobody is going to put up with that nonsense.  I myself have often times walked instead of taking the M50.  By the time you wait and then take the bus, you could already be at your destination, not to mention that the bus may leave you further away from where it normally would anyway.  The headways also suck so that when those buses detour, the waits can be extensive.  In this case, there isn't much the (MTA) can do and we both know they aren't going to add more service to make the route more attractive, so that line is becoming an afterthought.

Y'know, Manhattan "south" generally speaking is becoming a great place to seek shelter whenever it rains.... You don't have to walk too far before you're under somebody's damn scaffolding..... It's to the point where you can walk along 5th av in Midtown & look to your left or right upon coming on some side street where you either have a crane, at least 1/3rd of the block long of scaffolding, or some other big huge contraption taking up 3 or 4 car lengths along the curbside (to me, they look like big ass engines... IDK WTF those things are)....

 

It's been a couple years now since I've had this uneasy feeling of walking along said side streets in Manhattan.... There is this feeling that something's (or someone's, and I'm not trying to be funny with that either) gonna come falling from the sky & killing you... It's too much.

 

Not to mention in some areas, all this construction forces pedestrians to become subjected to (walking parallel to) vehicular traffic.... Then there's the bikes you also gotta watch out for.... It's all one clusterf*ck.....

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Something I forgot to add earlier when I posted this morning was that part of this so-called "fascination" with SBS service is federal funding.  The (MTA) can obtain such funding by converting routes to SBS, so this is yet another ploy by them to reduce their financial costs.  Federal funding means they have to cough up less dollars for things like new buses.  

 

The B44 is a great example of that:

 

 

Source: http://nyc.streetsblog.org/2012/11/14/city-receives-federal-funding-for-full-nostrand-avenue-select-bus-route/

 

$28 million dollars in a federal grant is a nice chunk of change, and that's just for one route.  This is why the city loves it so much despite all of the hot air they spew about how it will speed up service, etc.

 

Question for Brooklyn Bus or anyone who may know... Is there a limit to the federal funding that the (MTA) can receive for SBS service? I'm also curious as to how much money it has received since the debut of the service, and how much they've received annually? It would be interesting to do an analysis on that.

I first mentioned that the MTA has been pushing SBS just to obtain the available federal funding about three years ago. It is only available for initial setup. There is no federal funding for ongoing routes. There is no limit, but now the total funding available is less so there is more completion for those SBS funds from other transit projects and of course also from other cities. So as the funding dwindles. The number of future SBS routes will dwindle. DeBlasio wants to meet his goal of 20. Once met, there might not be many more new SBS routes. And of course no matter how poorly they perform, DOT and the MTA will always claim success. You even stated that the M86 SBS is an improvement but far from a success with all the bus bunching you see. But DOT will just ignore the bunching with statistics like travel speed has increased by 10 percent even if that translates to only two minutes.

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The MTA puts it on themselves in this case; they tout SBS as BRT....

 

Y'know, Manhattan "south" generally speaking is becoming a great place to seek shelter whenever it rains.... You don't have to walk too far before you're under somebody's damn scaffolding..... It's to the point where you can walk along 5th av in Midtown & look to your left or right upon coming on some side street where you either have a crane, at least 1/3rd of the block long of scaffolding, or some other big huge contraption taking up 3 or 4 car lengths along the curbside (to me, they look like big ass engines... IDK WTF those things are)....

 

It's been a couple years now since I've had this uneasy feeling of walking along said side streets in Manhattan.... There is this feeling that something's (or someone's, and I'm not trying to be funny with that either) gonna come falling from the sky & killing you... It's too much.

 

Not to mention in some areas, all this construction forces pedestrians to become subjected to (walking parallel to) vehicular traffic.... Then there's the bikes you also gotta watch out for.... It's all one clusterf*ck.....

Speaking of which I was walking from the express bus down 56th Street the other day... Scaffolding on both sides of the street, and the situation repeats itself block after block. Also another reason for the atrocious bus service.

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.

Okay great again facts we're almost 10 years with SBS in where's the progress? Matter fact where's the beef? If this is clout I hate to be the person really on there hit list.

 

 

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MTA has never been lead partner on SBS in the first place, so I don't get where this idea of a turf war has come from.

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I just read the M86 report and it is a big joke. They spend a fortune just for the bus to save about 2 1/2 minutes. And since virtually no one travels the entire route, the average passenger only saves around a minute. They don't mention your chances of missing a bus because you first have to buy your ticket which means your trip may actually take longer.

 

I have no problem with measures such as queue jump lanes because there are not going costs. So if you take that away, that means that prepaying your fare actually saves the bus less than 2 minutes River to River so the passenger saves virtually no time at all for a huge ongoing cost of enforcement and maintenance of the machines. As for the improvement in wait assessment, from what VG8 stated, bus bunching is still bad, so the question is what methodology are they using to determine wait assessment? That is how late does a bus have to be for it still to be considered on time? I didn't see that described in the report.

 

Don't even get me started on their ridiculous methodology that shows a 96 percent satisfaction rate. It's too bad people aren't smart enough to be able to read between the lines.

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Does anyone know what ever happened to the M14A/D SBS? I was on it the other day and it took at least 5 minutes to leave the second (main) stop. Plus we went through at one light 5 cycles before we finalize made it on a green. What was scheduled as a 35 minutes trip took an 1:15 minutes.

 

 

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MTA has never been lead partner on SBS in the first place, so I don't get where this idea of a turf war has come from.

That leads to the question who's in charge then? And circles me back to my main point when you have to wait and work with someone else and control. What are we talking about then?

 

 

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Don't even get me started on their ridiculous methodology that shows a 96 percent satisfaction rate. It's too bad people aren't smart enough to be able to read between the lines.

Flippantly speaking, I look at it this way.... They can't even garner 100% satisfaction of a biased sample :lol: :lol:

 

Quite embarrassing....

 

Does anyone know what ever happened to the M14A/D SBS? I was on it the other day and it took at least 5 minutes to leave the second (main) stop. Plus we went through at one light 5 cycles before we finalize made it on a green. What was scheduled as a 35 minutes trip took an 1:15 minutes.

Lol @ more than double the runtime.... Sad part is, that's sounds about right.

 

As for a 14th st SBS, I didn't know there was an actual plan (that was publicly put out) for it....

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Folks should look at the M15 thread posted by Deucey. It talks about the line receiving new buses, but more importantly, it highlights how atrocious local bus service has become since the inception of the M15SBS.

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Folks should look at the M15 thread posted by Deucey. It talks about the line receiving new buses, but more importantly, it highlights how atrocious local bus service has become since the inception of the M15SBS.

Yes, of course..... I'm just making up how bad local service has gotten on these routes w/ SBS on em...

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Folks should look at the M15 thread posted by Deucey. It talks about the line receiving new buses, but more importantly, it highlights how atrocious local bus service has become since the inception of the M15SBS.

 

 

Yes, of course..... I'm just making up how bad local service has gotten on these routes w/ SBS on em...

Question... Just so I understand fully. What happened when the line went from Local and Limited service to Local and SBS on the M15?

 

Are there more buses assigned to SBS M15 than LTD M15? What happened? Or was M15 always in need of fixing?

Edited by RailRunRob

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That leads to the question who's in charge then? And circles me back to my main point when you have to wait and work with someone else and control. What are we talking about then?

 

 

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VG8, way back, said that MTA needs to be doing more. Right now DOT has always been lead partner; MTA could honestly give a rat's ass about which bus corridors turn into SBS corridors. I don't understand where your insinuation that the DOT is somehow stymieing MTA is coming from.

 

As for a 14th st SBS, I didn't know there was an actual plan (that was publicly put out) for it....

 

Aside from the people who think that it should happen when the (L) train shuts down, the DOT does have a long-range blueprint for SBS services. How valid it is eight years later is up for debate.

 

While the merits of SBS and its particulars are up for debate, this is the only study I am aware of that attempts to define corridors that need congestion relief or expanded capacity of any kind of transit.

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Question... Just so I understand fully. What happened when the line went from Local and Limited service to Local and SBS on the M15?

 

Are there more buses assigned to SBS M15 than LTD M15? What happened? Or was M15 always in need of fixing?

There was a span expansion & a service increase that came with the M15 SBS, so yes, there are simply more SBS' on the M15 compared to when there were LTD's..... The span of local service hasn't changed (it's still 24/7), but there are now less local buses in operation throughout the day....

 

The dirty little secret is that the MTA is supplying more SBS' on these routes & not that buses are so much faster compared to LTD's....

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VG8, way back, said that MTA needs to be doing more. Right now DOT has always been lead partner; MTA could honestly give a rat's ass about which bus corridors turn into SBS corridors. I don't understand where your insinuation that the DOT is somehow stymieing MTA is coming from.

I guess that's the confusion right there. My comment is based on VG8's the MTA could be doing more..I'm coming from the view of maybe the MTA wants to do more but has to work with DOT thus the holdup or the stymie. My going to be honest I didn't know the DOT was the lead I knew they were a partner I had no idea the dynamics were as such. I'm wondering if VG8 even knows this?! Kinda changes the story abit. Is doing more meaning the MTA cares more? What could they do better with this dynamic I guess is the real question? Shrugs I don't have the answer.

 

 

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There was a span expansion & a service increase that came with the M15 SBS, so yes, there are simply more SBS' on the M15 compared to when there were LTD's..... The span of local service hasn't changed (it's still 24/7), but there are now less local buses in operation throughout the day....

 

The dirty little secret is that the MTA is supplying more SBS' on these routes & not that buses are so much faster compared to LTD's....

Gotcha!! I see your POV! And with the MTA touting SBS as true BRT as well. So what did they think was going to happen by not properly balancing service on local runs? People were just going to walk to SBS stops instead? Or did they count on more new people using the service then actually came? I kinda see what your talking about out here. I walked to Nostand about a week ago now that you say I did notice this type of pattern on the B44 with tons of SBS and like one local. What other routes are being affected in this way you think? Bx41? 12?

 

 

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Edited by RailRunRob

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There are SBS ticket machines that accept coins.

 

The process is so tedious, anyone trying to do it is going to miss the bus. I mentioned half fare metrocards but considering it requires a swipe and change, I'm not sure how it works with SBS. IMO, all of the SBS machines should accept both coins and cards.

 

The same was said when dollar bills weren't accepted.  People adjust.  That's the other thing about the buses in Florence... No coins... You buy what you need in advance and that's it.  It makes the entire process much faster. How many people hold up buses asking for change or getting their change out at the last minute.  The fact that the (MTA) only has one coin machine at those SBS stops says enough.  The other thing I find interesting is that you have people that wait even at the SBS stops until the bus is almost in the stop before they get their receipt.  

 

Regarding the whole honor system, I think it works if you have the Eagle Team out in force checking daily.  You check enough and people get the message that they had better pay.  It's actually better here because you have two or three people checking.  In Italy it's usually just one person.

 

Last I heard, they stopped accepting dollars bills at the onset of MTA Bus because the system MTA used to collect fares was different from that of the private lines. They do that because the local could come first in some cases and they may not have an unlimited. 

 

The Eagle Team can delay service by 5-15 minutes.... I've had instances where no one was getting on/off (everyone was on the 2 buses in front of us) and we still had to wait.

 

Given the current setup of the WB B6/82 near Rockaway Pkwy, them using Glenwood in both directions would be a huge improvement. That backwards loop routing they take now is ridiculous, and it would stop the confusion at that stop on Flatlands/E. 96 St.

 

My only gripe with this SBS routing is that all the time it saved abandoning the backwards loop routing would all be negated sitting in Rockaway Pkwy traffic

 

The loop never made sense to me but I understand re: Glenwood being 2 way. I'm still a little confused as to where/if the late night B82 is stopping between RP and E 105.  Would signal priority on Rockaway Pkwy help?

 

 

Gotcha!! I see your POV! And with the MTA touting SBS as true BRT as well. So what did they think was going to happen by not properly balancing service on local runs? People were just going to walk to SBS stops instead? Or did they count on more new people using the service then actually came? I kinda see what your talking about out here. I walked to Nostand about a week ago now that you say I did notice this type of pattern on the B44 with tons of SBS and like one local. What other routes are being affected in this way you think? Bx41? 12?

 

 

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They expected people to abandon ship.... the 12 local is bunching just as much as the SBS with half the service....

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Gotcha!! I see your POV! And with the MTA touting SBS as true BRT as well. So what did they think was going to happen by not properly balancing service on local runs? People were just going to walk to SBS stops instead? Or did they count on more new people using the service then actually came? I kinda see what your talking about out here. I walked to Nostand about a week ago now that you say I did notice this type of pattern on the B44 with tons of SBS and like one local. What other routes are being affected in this way you think? Bx41? 12?

 

The Bx41 seems like there's a reasonable ratio of locals to SBS buses. Can't speak for the other routes.

 

They do that because the local could come first in some cases and they may not have an unlimited. 

 

The loop never made sense to me but I understand re: Glenwood being 2 way. I'm still a little confused as to where/if the late night B82 is stopping between RP and E 105.  Would signal priority on Rockaway Pkwy help?

 

As I mentioned before, the policy is that SBS receipts can be used on the local if it comes first, but they need to publicize that more. (I wonder if the B/O is able to press a button to record the receipts being used, or if it ends up just adding to the SBS total since those passengers bought SBS tickets).

 

And looking at the map on the PDF, it looks like they plan on having westbound local buses run straight from 103rd to the subway station.

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