October 20, 2016
By Corey Bearak
Queens, NY – Part three of this four part series of The Public Ought To Know recommended a strategic look at public bus transit.
In part two we explored changes to MTA policies that allows management decisions that take buses and bus operators out of service and better use of Select Bus Service (SBS) features. In part one, we looked at some unique and valuable insights ATU members offers as mass transit professionals.
ATU's strategic approach includes some basic needs and options which make sense:
- restore remaining bus service cuts from 2010.
- expand (all) bus service to operate 24 hours.
- introduce express bus service in Southeast Queens at the level that exists in Northeast Queens.acquire more buses to deploy on existing, revised and new routes – a key component of any improvement plan.
- identify any need for new bus terminals – downtown Flushing plagued by congestion and related issues – remains a prime candidate.
- identify bus depots which need repair or replacement and schedule such.
- address congestion on local bus lines particularly during rush hours.
- deploy more buses to meet service needs during rush hours; this includes starting some buses further along a route to allow more riders get a timely ride.
- institute off-bus fare collection not just for SBS.
- looking at dedicated bus lanes for local and limited bus routes such as enjoyed in one borough, with proper enforcement.
- implement free transfers between commuter rail and bus public transit, as currently exist between buses and subways and local and express buses..]
- charge the entity looking at BQX – “the rail to nowhere” – to also review linking the waterfront neighborhoods via buses, which can occur almost instantaneously.
A city which puts a premium not only on planning but engaging the community ought to embrace this holistic approach to ensuring improved bus service.
Bottom line, improving bus service offers a quick, simple and strategic path to effectively upgrading public transit infrastructure, including in Queens.
If this hearing can help direct attention to better use of buses, providing more buses and service, greater progress on depots and identifying needed bus terminal sites, it helps the cause and benefits so many New Yorkers including those who live in those transportation deserts.