Transportation advocates and elected officials rallied outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday in support of a turnaround plan that aims to improve the quality of the city’s bus service.
Transit Center, a policy group that helped to develop the plan, called for more bus-only lanes, street cameras to monitor for cars straying into bus paths, the ability to board buses using all doors and simplified routes, the New York Daily News reported. The plan offered London and Seoul as examples of cities where such features have improved service.
"People are voting with their MetroCards to abandon the bus," Riders Alliance Director John Raskin was quoted by the Daily News. "We need to provide good enough bus service that people decide to ride it again."
The plan called attention to the fact that New York City's buses average 7.4 mph on a typical weekday, Patch.com reported. Such a slow speed means that the city’s buses are, on average, slower than their counterparts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
Another one of the plan’s proposals was to utilize real-time GPS information to improve bus dispatching so that buses do not bunch while on their routes, Streetsblog reported. Heavy traffic, lengthy routes and unreliable dispatching often cause service lulls as buses arrive in clusters of two or more at one time.
"Many of the things that we’re proposing can be rolled out in months and years, not decades," Transit Center New York Program Director Tabitha Decker was quoted by Streetsblog. "The thing that is needed most urgently to turn around our bus service is for New York to make buses a priority."
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the transit agency has been studying the effects of bus route changes in various neighborhoods in Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens, according to the Daily News.
"Many of the recommendations in the report are actions the MTA is already taking," his statement was quoted by the Daily News. "[The] MTA is constantly re-evaluating bus routes to improve reliability and to optimize routes in order to serve areas where the demand is highest."