July 27, 2016
By Corey Bearak, The Public Ought To Know
The focus by the so-called advocates, including the Riders Alliance, on buses helps change a conversation involving ferries, more rail and subways, light rail and, recently, a trolley; buses still offer the quickest, most cost effective and flexible means to get more people out of cars and help protect our environment.
Extending features of Select Bus Services (SBS) to other local and express routes offer real opportunities to enhance service. Off-board fare payment reduces time to get on and overall travel times. This would work particularly well at subway and other terminals.
Simple measures, not discussed in the report can make huge differences as well. Buses out of service either lacking a driver or unable to operate, leaves runs on routes going uncovered and longer wait times for riders, often at the worst times. This often relates to management decisions that take buses and bus operators out of service. Do not allow managers not replacing a driver out sick and or a disabled bus. Require appropriate bus inspection schedules; unsafe equipment often leaves a route short on buses. Amalgamated Transit Local 1056 which represents the operators and maintainers of MTA NYC Transit bus lines in Queens advocates free transfers between buses and LIRR. Why not charge the entity looking at BQX to also reviewing linking the waterfront nabes via buses?
City, Transit and elected officials need to come together with business, transit advocates and community leaders to explore greater use of buses. More buses to deployment on existing, revised and new routes remains a key component of any improvement plan. Bottom line, improving bus service offers a quick, simple and strategic path to effectively upgrading transit infrastructure.