When folks complain about the MTA’s shoddy service, most often it’s the subway system and its tendency to let us down when we really need it not to that they are talking about. Bus that doesn’t mean buses are off the hook. In fact, a new website launched by transit advocate group the Bus Turnaround Coalition, brings the many flaws of our city's bus service to the forefront (h/t Streetsblog).
The website allows users to get a report card on any one of the MTA’s bus routes to see how they are performing in areas that include average riders per day, bus speed, and what they call bus bunching—when buses arrive in clusters and not as scheduled. To no one’s surprise, the bus routes with the most amount of ridership typically have the worst report cards (yikes). It’s no wonder that bus ridership has been on a continuous decline since 2002.
If the stats alone aren’t enough, Bus Turnaround makes the experiences of bus riders a bit more relatable by taking you along the journey of three hypothetical situations with fictional characters, meant to represent "typical New York City bus riders" to "see the challenges they face and the solutions that would make their rides and lives better." They depict their struggles on various bus trips due to late arrivals, slow on-boarding (we’ve all seen that one traveler who doesn’t know how to properly insert the MetroCard into the slot), traffic, and excessive bus stops.
As a solution, Bus Turnaround suggests smart MetroCards that can be read by just tapping to a machine positioned in both the front and rear of the bus, improved route designs with stops about every three blocks, and dedicated bus-only lanes.
City Council has scheduled a hearing to determine the how the city can improve bus service.