Crawling along: MTA bus speeds are down in all five boroughs, agency stats show

Bus speeds have slowed down in all Five Boroughs final month, based on statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The citywide common bus pace in October was 7.9 miles per hour, down from 8.3 mph from October 2020, a 4.8% lower, figures released Friday by MTA’s New York Metropolis Transit show.

Automotive visitors has returned to virtually pre-pandemic ranges in current months, inflicting congestion on New York Metropolis streets and, in one current case, even often chopping brief a downtown Manhattan bus route because of the fixed gridlock close to the Holland Tunnel.

“Our expectation and our concerns are that this trend is going to continue and that the buses are just going to get slower as this uptick in congestion happens,” mentioned Caitlin Pearce, deputy director of the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance.

Buses have been the slowest in Manhattan final month at 6 mph, adopted by Brooklyn at 7 mph and the Bronx at 7.4 mph.

Queens buses had a median pace of 8.8 mph, and Staten Island topped town at 13.8 mph — however the people-movers in all five boroughs are operating slower than the 12 months earlier than.

In the meantime, the most recent automobile counts on MTA’s bridges and tunnels logged 27.1 million autos crossing the tolled services in September, a slight lower from 29 million in August, however nonetheless solely 2.6% beneath September 2019 ranges.

Bus ridership was at about 69% of pre-COVID ranges, or a median 1.5 million riders a day final month, based on the transit agency. 

The bus speeds are nonetheless barely above the 7.4 mph common which put the Large Apple on the backside of a listing of 17 giant bus programs in the nation, based on a 2017 report by metropolis Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Different indicators additionally show sluggish commutes with riders ready a median 43 seconds longer at bus stops final month and spending one minute and 24 seconds longer on board in comparison with the identical time final 12 months.

The town’s new busways bucked the development, with speeds rising 51% on the Most important Road busway in Flushing, Queens, and 36% on 181st Road in Manhattan’s Washington Heights.

“Bus lanes and busways really work and they should really be a top priority of an administration,” mentioned Pearce.

The red-painted paths restrict most or all through-traffic for personal autos to hurry up buses, debuting on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall in the Eighties and changing into a extra in style public transit enchancment software since the second opened on Manhattan’s 14th Road in 2019. 

The town’s Division of Transportation (DOT) — which designs and oversees the streets — has put in 4 of the five new busways Mayor Invoice de Blasio promised in summer time 2020, together with most just lately a pair in Jamaica, Queens, late final month.

Not all have been equally profitable although.

The half-mile Jay Road busway in Downtown Brooklyn slowed down again in current months after a promising begin final 12 months, as extra vehicles illegally drive by means of the limited-access highway and as parking placard abuse persists in enterprise district.

The final de Blasio-era busway on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue was watered down by DOT and postponed until after hizzoner leaves office on the finish of the 12 months, following rich native enterprise pursuits kicking up a stink on the mission.

Advocates hope Mayor-elect Eric Adams will steer his administration’s focus towards enhancing bus rides in 2022. 

“This is a key moment with our new administration coming in,” mentioned Pearce. “We’re going to be looking to the mayor to make sure our bus projects move forward.”

That features working with the MTA on its borough-by-borough bus community redesigns, which relaunched in the Bronx after a pandemic pause. 

One other easy step, the advocate famous, is permitting riders to additionally board by means of the again door, one thing MTA plans to pilot on 10 routes. 

An MTA spokesman mentioned the agency has earmarked $85 million for bus lane digicam enforcement with a aim of putting in the cameras at 85% of pink lanes by 2023. 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic receding, the familiar problem of traffic congestion is returning and the MTA is already taking steps to speed buses using proven solutions,” mentioned Aaron Donovan in a press release. “The MTA has committed $85 million to automated camera enforcement of bus lanes, launched bus-mounted ads highlighting the cameras, and is working with NYC DOT to increase pace and number of bus lanes and busways.”

A spokesman for DOT mentioned the 12 months has been “transformative” because of the 4 new busways, however pointed again to the state and the necessity for MTA to launch its downtown Manhattan tolling program generally known as congestion pricing. 

“This year has been transformative for bus riders, and we’re excited to continue working with the MTA on that progress,” mentioned Seth Stein. “At the same time, this again highlights how critical it is to get congestion pricing in place as soon as possible, and to continue our push to get our friends and neighbors to embrace transit, cycling and walking.”

Source link