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Slow M23 bus wins this year's 'Pokey' Award

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Slow M23 bus wins this year's 'Pokey' Award

BY CHRISTY SMITH and MELISSA GRACE

DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Wednesday, October 31st 2007, 4:00 AM

 

For the second time in four years, the M23 bus has earned the dubious distinction as the city's slowest.

 

The crosstown Manhattan ride crept along 23rd St. at such a glacial pace Tuesday that a Daily News reporter on foot kept up with the vehicle for most of its Hudson River to East River run.

 

"I ran for this bus like a lunatic," gasped Lorri Greif, a fund-raising consultant as she climbed aboard. "If I'd missed it, I would do better walking across town."

 

Moving at an average speed of 4 mph in noontime traffic, the M23 won this year's "Pokey" Award, a creation of the Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives.

 

The snail-paced bus, which runs through one of the city's busier commercial strips, first won the award in 2003.

 

The M34 bus, which navigates through traffic-chocked Herald Square, earned the award in 2004 and 2005. This year, the M34 came in second, with a whopping average speed of 4.3 mph.

 

Besides the Pokeys, the advocacy groups issued a new award this year, the "Schleppie." It is given to the bus most prone to being late.

 

The inaugural Schleppie went to the M1, which runs between Harlem and the East Village. M1 buses ran behind schedule 33% of the time, according to the groups.

 

"One thing that infuriates New York bus riders is waiting 20 minutes and then seeing three buses come in a herd," said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign.

 

Transit officials said Tuesday they were working to speed up buses and make schedules more dependable for its 2.5 million daily bus customers - including dedicating more bus lanes and installing new traffic signal technology.

 

The News sent two reporters out to put this year's Pokey winner to the test. One climbed aboard an M23 at its first stop outside Chelsea Piers. A second walked east from the stop to the stop at the FDR Drive.

 

Until Sixth Ave., the walker kept pace with the bus, often walking ahead as the blue-and-white behemoth stopped to pick up passengers.

 

"Sometimes it's just a mess," said bus driver Paul Calderon, 39, who has operated an M23 for seven years. While elderly passengers and construction crews can slow him down, "delivery trucks are the worst," Calderon said.

 

At Sixth Ave., the bus pulled ahead. But at Lexington Ave., the walking reporter caught up to it.

 

By Second Ave., emptier residential streets gave the gas-powered bus the advantage: It finished the 2.2 miles in 31 minutes, three minutes ahead of the reporter.

 

graf_bus.jpg

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That is why I tell people it is better to walk than catch a bus on 23rd, 34th, and 42nd street, especially on Friday late afternoon and evenings.

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Does anyone think there is any way to fix the problem that plagues those crosstown routes.

 

Make dedicated bus lanes, and have absolute strict enforcement of them. What that means is if you block them, you get a fine and points on your license. The police should not be allowed to make any discretion between a giving a parking ticket, and one as a moving violation, when it comes to bus lanes. It should be like obstructing traffic, but when it's a bus lane the penalties should be tripled. The state legislature needs to write, pass, and enact these laws.

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Make dedicated bus lanes, and have absolute strict enforcement of them. What that means is if you block them, you get a fine and points on your license. The police should not be allowed to make any discretion between a giving a parking ticket, and one as a moving violation, when it comes to bus lanes. It should be like obstructing traffic, but when it's a bus lane the penalties should be tripled. The state legislature needs to write, pass, and enact these laws.

 

Your ideas are great and justified given the situation but I believe the MTA doesn't care enough about these crosstown routes that it would impliment such street rules and regulations. I truly belive the DOT wouldn't allow that. Also, think about what one less lane would do to any of those main crosstown thoroughfares. Twice the gridlock and a worse traffic flow those streets have ever witnessed.

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Your ideas are great and justified given the situation but I believe the MTA doesn't care enough about these crosstown routes that it would impliment such street rules and regulations. I truly belive the DOT wouldn't allow that. Also, think about what one less lane would do to any of those main crosstown thoroughfares. Twice the gridlock and a worse traffic flow those streets have ever witnessed.

 

The city DOT would have to be the ones to do it. The MTA can only ask and see if the city would cooperate, along with the NYPD for enforcement. There are some crosstown buses with dedicated bus lanes. IIRC, 50th, 49st, 42st, 34st, and I do believe some uptown routes also. The idea is to not worry about the cars and the gridlock. The idea is to make the buses faster, and people sitting in their cars gridlocked will get the idea. They want to make it unattractive to drive in the city, that was the basic reason behind congestion pricing. Give them less room to drive, and that will make it that more unattractive.

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My Bx19 won for Da Bronx, where do I pick up the trophy! The slowest in Da Boggie Down. The Bx41 is the most unreliable in Da Boggie Down. The Bx41 has problems at the Cross Bronx. It is congested there especially S/B.

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Your ideas are great and justified given the situation but I believe the MTA doesn't care enough about these crosstown routes that it would impliment such street rules and regulations. I truly belive the DOT wouldn't allow that. Also, think about what one less lane would do to any of those main crosstown thoroughfares. Twice the gridlock and a worse traffic flow those streets have ever witnessed.

 

You have a good point there but it could work. I think it would just drive off the knuckleheads joyriding, people who don't need to drive to work and anyone else in the area that doesn't have to be there.

 

The problems I see is enforcement. To me it seems all too complicated to enforce. It could be just me but that would start a whole slew of problems with ticketing, enforcing, abuse of rules and more.

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to be honest in my opinion buses are slow in general.

 

it is always horrible driving or taking anything that goes on roads in manhattan. take the subway or walk!!

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to be honest in my opinion buses are slow in general.

 

it is always horrible driving or taking anything that goes on roads in manhattan. take the subway or walk!!

But you have to remember the point why we have buses.

 

NOW, your opinions on buses will change when you decide to actually take a real trip and ride real buses and go to Joisey or hell, even Connecticut. OH OH, I got another one, Bee-Line! Take the BxM4C on a saturday morning to Yonkers and tell us what you think when you come back.....

 

But back on topic, last year it was the M14 IIRC. Now here is what the MTA did, pulled buses off the M23 then put it on the M14 screwing over the M23 and the cycle will just continue and continue. As for the Bronx, no need to be reminded of the pokey there.....

And for Queens and Brooklyn, its not much but theres a way to avoid jams in those boroughs. And for SI, that borough just sucks in terms of buses.

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The Straphanger's who give out these awards trying to embarrass the MTA, should look at the people they suppose to be helping. The riding public. It ain't Bus Operators, and Train Operators dirtying up buses and trains. It's the public, who think it's a trash receptacle. It's the people who fail to use the back door to exit buses, that really makes the buses late. Maybe they should get off their proverbial asses, ride the buses, see how many people do this, and advocate people help to speed up bus service, by exiting from the rear doors, so buses can immediately start loading once in stops. How about that?

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