Southern Brooklyn

My Proposed Bus Route Changes For Sheepshead Bay And Adjacent Neighborhoods: Part 2 Of 2

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THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, I outlined my reasons for a new bus route to the Rockaways, an extension of the B31 to Bensonhurst, combination of the B2 and B100, and partially restoring the B4 to serve Neptune Avenue in Brighton Beach. Today I discuss the remaining proposals.

Operation Of MTA’s Proposed B44 Select Bus Service (SBS) to Sheepshead Bay Station Instead Of To Knapp Street

The MTA maintains that they cannot afford to operate routes such as the B4, which carry as little as six passengers per bus, yet they are proposing to boost B44 Nostrand Avenue service from every four minutes in the rush hours — when you count both locals and limiteds — to every three minutes. The B44 will also only carry about six passengers per bus south of Avenue Z, operating much more frequently than the B4, when it operates at all. Where is the logic?

The MTA is hoping that the SBS’s quicker ride will encourage just enough riders to switch from the B4, which goes to Sheepshead Bay Station, to the 2 and 5 at the Flatbush-Nostrand Junction. Then they will use the reduced B4 ridership figures to justify full-time cutting back of the B4 to Coney Island Hospital as they tried to do in 2009 and again in 2010. They only partially succeeded the second time, because I intervened by providing them with my own ridership counts.

It is my belief that Plumb Beach residents want access to Sheepshead Bay Station, not the Flatbush Avenue Station, which the MTA prefers they use instead. Also, there have been many complaints regarding B36 service, which used to be much better when the MTA also provided shuttle service between Avenue U and the Sheepshead Bay Station. That service was discontinued a number of years ago and assured riders that a bus would most likely be waiting at the station during the evening rush hours instead of being subjected to delays along the entire route.

We have the opportunity to improve B36 service by asking the MTA to instead reroute the B44 SBS to Sheepshead Bay Station where they would be well-utilized instead of providing these additional B44 buses to Knapp Street where they are not needed. My proposal would operate B44 SBSs along the B36’s route, stopping only once at Bedford Avenue and Avenue Z. A redesign and some reconstruction of the intersection of Sheepshead Bay Road, Avenue Z and East 14th Street would be required for the articulated buses to be able to navigate the turn. Those are the types of buses the MTA will be using for the SBS. The terminus would be in front of the current B36 stop where the car services currently illegally line up. The bus would return to Avenue Z using Jerome Avenue and East 17th Street. The proposed B4 terminus would be on Avenue Z, just west of East 15th Street.

B36 complaints would be greatly reduced since the number of seats would more than triple when you include the added B44 SBS capacity. It makes much more sense than operating longer buses to carry six passengers south of Avenue Z and the B4 not operating at all, which will most likely be the case within five years if the MTA has is way.

Of course, as with any change, there is also a downside. Plumb Beach residents would not get direct SBS access to the Flatbush Avenue Station. They would have to change for the SBS at Avenue Z. The MTA would also be required to change its policy of not counting a transfer between a local and an SBS bus so that an additional change to the subway or another bus could be made for the same fare.

A further advantage to this plan is that many Kingsborough Community College students currently using the B49 would be able to use the B44 SBS instead in the off-peak direction, where there would be available capacity, and crowding on the B49 would be reduced.  They would transfer at Sheepshead Bay Station for the B49 where additional shuttle buses to the college would be provided, or the B44 SBS could be extended non-stop to the college for peak trips around 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The B49 Limited would no longer be needed.

Last September, at one of the MTA B44 SBS workshops, I approached Ted Orosz, the MTA project leader, with this suggestion to modify the B44 SBS. He promised that he will look in to it and, if the idea is feasible and the community is solidly behind it, they would entertain the change.

The alternative of operating the B44 SBS to Plumb Beach and the local to Sheepshead Bay Station is not feasible because the SBS would have to operate as a local south of Avenue Z with additional pre-payment kiosks having to be installed at a substantial cost.

Equal Headways For B44 Locals And SBSs

The MTA is proposing rush hour SBS service of every five minutes and local service every 10 minutes. This makes no sense because the SBS buses will have 50 more seats than the locals, which will continue to use standard buses. The headways on the locals and SBS’s should be equal at all times to prevent overcrowding on the locals. This is likely, since some current Limited riders will switch to the local instead of to the SBS. Two-thirds of the Limited bus stops will not be converted to SBS, and New York Avenue will not get replacement service for the Limited buses. SBS buses will operate along Rogers Avenue, two avenue blocks away. If you are going to Albany Avenue, it becomes a real problem to use SBS.

Many of the elderly and those having difficulty walking will be unable to take advantage of the quicker SBS service, because of not being able to walk a half-mile, or up to three-quarters of a mile in some cases, to the closest stop. There is no reason why anyone should have a slower trip by having to switch from the Limited to the local as a result of SBS. There will be no SBS stops at Avenues R and L and other Limited stops will be lost as well, unless the communities insist they be retained as SBS stops. The MTA should allow a free transfer between the local and the SBS, which does not preclude a second transfer to another bus or train, regardless if they accept my SBS proposal or not.

Return Of The B64 To Coney Island

Although not directly affecting Sheepshead Bay and its surrounding neighborhoods, I am also proposing that the MTA return the B64 to its former routing in Bensonhurst where it was truncated to 25th Avenue. Coney Island is being revitalized, but yet we are making access to it more difficult. I will not go into all the other reasons why this route needs to be restored.


Come to the Town Hall this Thursday whether you support these plans or not, or if you have your own ideas that you would like to share about how the MTA can improve our service. For years, the MTA has been telling us what they are going to do for us. Now it is our turn to tell them what we want them to do for us.

Where there is a will there is a way. In the 1970s, the MTA and privately-operated bus companies told the Borough Park and Williamsburg communities that there was no demand for bus service between those communities. They knew the demand was there, so they just started their own bus company, which was not taken over by the MTA like the others because it still operates without any subsidy. The MTA was proven wrong yet again.

We don’t have to start our own company, but if we all get behind a single set of bus improvement proposals and get our elected officials to support us, the MTA will have to listen to the will of the people. Hope to see you on Thursday.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Comment policy


  1. You can drop the conspiracy theories. Some Plumb Beach residents prefer Sheepshead Bay; others prefer Flatbush Avenue; others don’t really care much one way or the other. Just because you are stuck in 1989 and think Flatbush Avenue is a hotbed of crime doesn’t make it so. Depriving Plumb Beach residents of decent access to Flatbush Avenue (local-only service is not decent access, and asking everybody to transfer from the local to SBS is absurd) would do them a great disservice.

    The local is being extended to Emmons for one simple reason: to avoid having to install fare machines at all local stops south of Avenue U. If it turns out that ridership is too low to support both services, additional machines can be installed at a later date and the local cut back. If there is ever a time to try running both services to Emmons, it is with the startup of SBS.

    The B36, like every other line, is scheduled based on loading at the peak load point. If you think it is overcrowded, then ask the MTA when load checks are next scheduled. There is no need to triple service there.

    The B44 local and B44 SBS will be scheduled, independently, based on loads. (That’s how it’s done on the M15 and Bx12.) If ridership goes up on the local, service will be increased on the local. If ridership goes down on the local, service will be decreased on the local. Guaranteeing equal headways would lead to overcrowding on whichever of the two services carries heavier loads.

    (Have you ridden any of the existing SBS lines yet, by the way, or are you still basing your ideas on your own preconceptions?)

    As for your B64 suggestion, the B64 was cut back to reduce costs. I’d love to see it extended, but the financial issues haven’t miraculously vanished.

  2. I’ve been on the SBS route in Manhattan (M15). Being from around here, I was used to shoddy service, so I didn’t whine when the bus didn’t come for nearly 40 minutes (both times). But everyone else at the stop was outraged to the point of complaining to other strangers at the stop. Once on the bus, the dedicated bus lanes made no difference – it was slow going. I’ve also been told by people who use that route regularly that many of the fare machines are out of order, sometimes every machine at a single stop. 

    As for access to Flatbush, I can’t speak about it since I live within spitting distance of the Sheepshead station, but in my conversations with people in the Plumb Beach, they do prefer Sheepshead station over Flatbush, and believe it’s a quicker ride to a less crowded line.

  3. I invite you to come to the next Bensonhurst West End Community Council Meeting and tell the people that the B64 is not needed. Give me your e-mail address and I will provide you the date. I doubt it if you will leave there alive. At best, you will be covered in eggs.

    Yes I have ridden the M34 SBS for one block from 10th to 11th Av. I tried to take it from 8th Av. But just missed the bus while I was paying my fare. There was no bus coming so I walked the first few blocks. The bus I got was an extra so it was painted like a regular bus. There were 4 vehicles in the SBS lane between 8th and 11th.

  4. Of course they would. Most people can walk from Knapp St to SB station faster than the B44 can get from Knapp St to Flatbush Ave because the B44 currently makes 16 stops between the two points. The B44 SBS will make four.

    I still question how crowded the IRT is [at the first stop] compared to the BMT [at Sheepshead] and which station you are more likely to get a seat at during AM rush hours. At all other times I already know there is no problem getting a seat at Flatbush.

  5. I like that B2 runs all the way from Coney Island to millbasin and they way it runs thru the bensonhurst. However I do not like B2 on quentin rd in marine park. that area has school  and buses and parents  in double parked cars picking up / drooping off kids.

  6. I do agree that the other SBS routes are generally ineffective. The B44 is different though. It is straighter, uses less congested roads, will make fewer stops than other SBS lines, etc. I also agree that they need to stop letting the machines break. What they do with those machines now is ridiculous.

  7. For years I lived in Brooklyn then Queens.  It seemed the bus routes always changed to my inconvenience but I don’t necessary think it is a conspiracy. I just wonder if anyone really thinks when they update the routes. Now that I love on Long Island, it’s complete torture. Buses are unpredictable with less access than you would believe. Public transportation on LI needs a serious overhaul and a lot of improvement.

  8. It’s a conspiracy only in the fact that money is the prime consideration and passenger convenience is the lowest priority by the upper decision makers who rarely use the services they plan for. This idea of zero cost improvements is what dooms the system to continual ridership losses which necessitates additional fare hikes. No private business would operate the way that the MTA does.

  9. Andrew, the only additional SBS stop that might make sense under any circumstances (all locals to Knapp, half the locals to Knapp, or zero locals to Knapp during the SBS’s hours of operation) is Nostrand/”Z”. And that should only happen if adding that stop does not cause the SBS buses to miss more red signals than they would if they did not stop there. Not a single stop more.

  10. Not surprised. I literally HAVE to use the IRT Nostrand Avenue Line. The trains on the 2 may not get packed too quickly in Brooklyn, but the 5 does. This is only made worse by significant signal problems at the junction at the IRT Eastern Parkway Line and passing 3 (and for the 5, 4) trains. On some occasions, when coming home, I actually avoided the trains and went to take the B44. The frequency of local buses is horrible (about one every 10 minutes or so) and those are packed all too often. The Limited buses don’t stop at Eastern Parkway, missing a transfer to the Eastern Parkway Line.
    I heard about the SBS proposals. They may work on paper, but do not in reality. The worst idea was M34 SBS. The two bus routes operate for about 2 miles per direction and had few stops before being implemented. Hearing about how damaging B44 SBS would be under the MTA’s proposals made me think. I doubt that it really would do as much good as the MTA claims. The B44 SBS will miss Eastern Parkway, much like the B44 Limited does. Once the SBS kicks in, the MTA will let the machines break constantly, allow people on the buses, and then kick them off at the next stop with ridiculous fines. Speaking of which, why must they be $100+?

  11. Last time I checked, double-parking was illegal (and still is).
    I actually thought about something. It’s okay if you think it’s not practical (I have none of the experience in this field that you have). How about keeping the B2 on Avenue R up to Ocean Avenue and then sending it up Ocean Avenue with additional weekday service along Quentin Road (provided that there’s enough money)?

  12. Man, I messed that up. I meant having it go to East 36th Street with additional weekday service on Quentin Road.

  13. Any Plumb beach resident going to Lower Manhattan would need the 2 and 5 since the B and Q cross the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan. The 2 and 5 run more frequently than the B and Q and express service really does not make much of a difference.

  14. I really dont see the purpose of using both streets for such a short distance. Also it would be incredibly confusing.

  15. You make perfect sense. Like I said, I don’t have the experience. I do agree that changes need to be made to reduce problems and make things more cost-effective in the long run.
    I remember that some of the bus routes that received cuts were harder to access not only because of very isolated areas but also because of other problems such as frequencies. Remember the Q79? That had such low ridership but had rush hour frequencies of 3 buses an hour. That was worsened for other times to 1 or 2 buses per hour. Even you would say that that’s ridiculous, right? Doing so to the B2 and B31, among other routes, would do far more harm than good.
    The B100 is almost a limited-stop route. I say that because of what you let us know about the spacing between stops on the B2 and B100. You are completely right about the need for retaining the B2. (Oh look, I’m the Department of Redundancy Department!)
    Speaking of modifying bus routes, do you have any ideas to make the B6 and B11 more efficient? On certain occasions, I have ended up taking the F to either Avenue I or Bay Parkway and noticed that the frequencies for both routes are not that great. This is worsened by the fact that all eastbound buses west of Coney Island Avenue between 3 and 4 pm are (for the B6) Limited buses that get blocked around Avenue J between Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue.

  16. That may be true by, at most, 3 minutes. That’s not a good difference. The 2 and 5 alternate, but they usually arrive/depart every 6-8 minutes during rush hour. They also hit a bottleneck (already stated where) which tends to stop them up.

  17. You mean the signal “problems” that are accounted for in the train schedules?

    Trade-offs: The BMT lines run less frequently and thus everything usually flows freely at junctions on the BMT lines. IRT lines run more frequently (and, lo and behold, give you more flexibility and serve more major destinations than BMT lines), but this results in delays at stations outside junctions.

    Funny how few complaints I hear about how slowly the BMT trains go over the Manhattan Bridge while the IRT gets all this flack on account of some itty bitty Rogers junction.

    And if the IRT is so bad while the BMT is so much better, I defy somebody to come and explain to me why ridership at the Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Kings Hwy stations has declined over the past several years while weekday and annual ridership at the Junction was at a five-year high last year.

    The B44 SBS is actually going to stop at Lincoln Place because combined SBS/local stops are so long that they occupy the entire block when it is a little block (1/20 mile long). The blue bar in the image is a SBS stop; the important overhead shot is the upper one which is the overhead shot of Nostrand Ave/St. John’s Pl:

    The situation with those machines is ridiculous and needs to be rectified pronto though.

  18. You failed to mention how slowly the IND travels across the same bridge.
    Accessing St. John’s Place from the Nostrand Avenue station requires one to cross Eastern Parkway; this thoroughfare is more treacherous than most because of its configuration.
    The signal problems are not well-accounted for. If they were, the 3 and 4 would also have schedules that would be less likely to cause problems overall.
    The ridership is declining at those stations because the bus service sucks. Wasn’t this already explained?

  19. “The signal problems are not well-accounted for. If they were, the 3 and 4 would also have schedules that would be less likely to cause problems overall.”

    Huh? The only way I will believe this is if you show me video evidence of Manhattan-bound trains sitting at President for inordinate amounts of time.

    “The ridership is declining at those stations because the bus service sucks. Wasn’t this already explained?”

    Does not tell me much about Brighton Beach since none of the buses that serve that station have really been cut. Also ridership at Sheepshead Bay was in decline at one point before the 2010 service cuts.

    Nobody has explained to me how the IRT and the delays at President could be so bad if annual and weekday ridership at Flatbush Ave (and, now that I checked, every station on the Nostrand Ave line except President) were at five-year highs last year.

  20. Sorry, but I haven’t ridden the 6 and 11 recently so all I know is the heavy traffic on Ave J between Coney Island Avenue and East 16th.  Avenue I is also getting bad at times also. If those routes are run like some of the others, I’m sure there is room for improvement.  What needs to be done is ask the bus drivers for their opinions. They are on the route every day and know more than the MTA gives  them credit for. But those in their ivory towers who never ride a bus think they have all the answers and plan accordingly.  All I can say is if you know of a specific operational problem or have a proposed solution, send them an e-mail.  The operations people do want to help.

  21. It’s probably not a good idea to add more buses (the B2 and B31) to Kings Highway between East 16th Street and Coney Island Avenue. That stretch already sees serious congestion during the day. It’s where B82 drivers are most likely to honk the horn and wait out additional light cycles.

  22. I didn’t say the B64 wasn’t needed. In fact, I said that I’d love to see it extended. What I said is that the financial problems that resulted in the service cuts haven’t gone away.

    Congratulations on riding SBS for one block. I suppose that’s better than nothing. Next time, maybe you’ll experience it at a busier location, where the rapid boarding makes a big difference.

    I missed a train this morning while I was paying my fare – but I’d rather that happen once in a while than having everybody board the train through one door and pay there. The improvement in speed is well worth the occasional missed bus. (In a few years, when smartcards come along, the point will be moot.)

    I don’t know if the camera enforcement is in place yet on the M34. Unfortunately, it took far too long for the state to authorize camera enforcement of bus lanes (and even now, the authorization only extends to current and proposed SBS corridors), and the implementation process has also been taking far too long. It doesn’t help that the police park in the bus lane with impunity. The original plan for 34th St. would have helped a lot, I think, but the community on the East Side didn’t like it.

  23. The MTA is required by state law to have a balanced budget. Ignoring money is not an option. You can come up with all the fanciful proposals you like, but at the end of the day the MTA has to pay the bills.

  24. Truthfully, the MTA is able to operate Subway lines slightly less frequently than bus routes as there must be a service frequency guideline for Subway lines. Trains to operate every 2 to 5 minutes along heavy routes and every 5 to 10 minutes in general during Rush Hours, every 5 to 25 minutes in general during Middays, Evenings and Weekends and every 30 minutes during Late Nights. The best suggestion is to operate both the B and the Q Local and Express 7 Days a Week with B and Q trains every 7 minutes during Rush Hours and every 10 minutes during Middays, Evenings and Weekends. J service should extend to Bay Parkway along the D line and D trains to operate Peak Direction Express. N trains to return to Broadway Express in Manhattan with Headays of 8 minutes during Rush Hours and 15 minutes durign Middays, Evenings and Weekends.

    I may also suggest that the B35 route extends East to Gateway Center along with the B82 route. The B7 (where I suggest a route extension to Coney Island Hospital along with the B82) should extend to Ridgewood, Queens replacing the B20 bus route and loop around Broadway Junction.

  25. I see the B44 SBS operating every 3 minutes during Rush Hours, every 7 minutes during Middays, every 5 minutes on Saturdays, every 6 minutes on Sundays and every 8 minutes during Evenings. The B44 Local will operate at two variations. One is to operate between Williamsburg Bridge Plaza and Avenue U. The other is to operate between Flushing Avenue and Knapp Street. There is to also be a Rush Hours B44 Local between Flatbush Avenue and Knapp Street.

  26. The MTA does not have a balanced budget with all of the waste being produced. The MTA is not able to pay the bills yet can somehow afford new buses and train cars. Seems legit.

  27. I don’t know what the original plan for the M34 was, but if you remember my comments on SAS, I stated that I was for the M34SBS. That was because I thought it would work. After having seen it in operation, I don’t think it works. First cause of the problem with enforcement. The second thing that bothered me is after only a few months, the red pavement is all worn out and the street is all warped. Does DOT expect to renew the road surface every three months?

    If you read my article about the Bus Forum in Manhattan, I wrote about one Peyton who claimed to live on 34th St and use the route regularly. He said he saves an entire 30 seconds on the M14. Also eliminating transfer stops like Lex and Madison is the dimmest thing I’ve seen. Walking an extra long block to change for the subway or bus negates what you might have saved on the bus and the elderly and handicapped who mainly use buses, just can’t do it. And here you can’t tell them to just take the local.

  28. The original plan was for a separated transitway, with expanded space for pedestrians, especially between 5th and 6th. Read more: (page 48)

    The red lanes were painted four or five years ago, and I don’t think the street was even repaved then. They’re certainly not new. The street layout you see now is only temporary – construction on the permanent layout is supposed to start next month. Here are the details, block by block:

    Lex and Madison were eliminated for two reasons. First, the community requested curbside loading areas at those locations that would have conflicted with bus stops. Second, Lex and Madison were later insertions into the grid, and the blocks from 3rd to Lex to Park to Madison to 5th are about half as long as the crosstown blocks elsewhere. Nearly every stop on the line is a transfer point, so that isn’t a very strong argument. The transfer to the subway is at Park, which is still served by the M34.

    On the Upper East Side, many of the crosstown buses gave up their stops at Park over a decade ago. Here, because of the subway, Park is the most important stop in the area, so it’s Lex and Madison that were eliminated. But the idea is nothing new, and it isn’t tied to SBS.

  29. Do you drive a 1964 car? How much do you pay to maintain it?

    At some point, a subway car or a bus becomes old enough that replacement is cheaper than further maintenance.The recently approved car order is to replace the R32’s, which date to 1964. They are the least reliable cars in the fleet and they won’t last forever.

  30. Do I drive? If you know the answer to this question, you know the answer to your stupid questions.
    Of course replacement will eventually become more practical than keeping it in regular service. Do you think I enjoy the idea of R32s on the C? Keeping them for the C Division like most of the Redbirds were is practical; plain revenue service is not.

  31. I was actually against M34 Select Bus Service because of the short length and difficulty with implementation of the bus lanes, enforcement of rules, and maintenance of the ticket machines. These are problems that plague the other routes – especially the M15.

  32. I have no idea if you drive. My point – and you seem to agree with it – is simply that the R32’s need to be replaced (for revenue service).

    (I don’t think we’ll be seeing them retained for work service, simply because they can only be used on B Division lines. The old redbirds can go anywhere. Most work equipment is IRT-width.)

  33. I read somewhere that they could have stops and the loading areas too. As for as Park Avenue being eliminated on other crosstown routes, I don’t believe it was a decade ago, and it was also a dumb thing to do. The bus saves a negligible amount of time by not stopping since it has to wait longer at Lex and Madison for people to board and get off. All it accomplishes is to increase the walking distance to a bus and encourage more use of taxis. It was done because te MTA has no regard for its customers. Many have complained about the removal of Park Avenue but the cries haven’t been loud enough for the MTA to restore those stops since they can just do whatever they want no matter how dumb it is.

  34. You “read somewhere”? Where was that? My source is here, among others. The community in Murray Hill expressed a good deal of concern over curbside access for loading.

    The current stop spacing between 5th and 3rd is much closer now to the stop spacing on the rest of the line than it was before the Madison and Lexington stops were eliminated. (Or, to turn it around, if the stops at Madison at Lexington should be reinstated, then why shouldn’t a third stop be added midway between 6th and 5th?)

    The stops on other crosstown lines at Park were eliminated starting in the late 90’s. The vast majority of riders benefitted from reduced travel times. A small number have to walk a short distance further to reach a bus stop. Contrary to your assertion, it takes a lot longer to make an extra stop to pick up a few additional riders than it does to pick up those riders at an existing stop.

    Buses don’t only serve people who walk slowly and people who have lots of time to kill. They also serve people who walk fast and are in a hurry. The stop spacing needs to be a balance. Buses don’t need to bypass multiple avenues in a row, but they also don’t have to stop at every single intersection.

    Yes, many have complained. Far more have benefitted. As Jarrett Walker writes, “Negative feedback is constant, positive feedback is rare.”

  35. To Andrew:

    The community has also expressed a good deal of concern about removal of the stops at Lex and Madison

    Many elderly and women who have difficulty with hills use buses in Manhattan. You just can’t ignore their needs so able bodied  people like yourself can save a few seconds by the bus skipping those stops while those who use it have to walk an extra five minutes. That’s just plain selfish.

    You say that the vast majority of riders benefit from the elimination of the Park Avenue bus stops, yet you offer no proof. The bus saves about ten seconds by haveing to slow down and another ten seconds accelerating, while people who need Park Avenue have to walk between 3 and 5 minutes extra in addition to their regular walk.  How many will just hop into a cab instead on Park because they don’t want to bother to walk over to Lex or Madison to get the bus?  

  36. @164b88b5feda652c00faa544c6ebc3f8:disqus :

    Read Jarrett Walker’s quotation again. If 95% are pleased by a change, you won’t hear from the 95% – you’ll only hear from the 5% who are upset. The vast majority of bus riders prefer faster service, even as a vocal minority complains about the eliminated stops.

    Buses in New York are way too slow, and they’ve been losing riders for years because of it. Buses don’t cater only to the elderly – as I said, they also have to serve people who are under time pressure. Nobody is ignoring the needs of the elderly, but you are ignoring the needs of everybody else. There needs to be a balance, and stopping at every single intersection is not balanced. How many already hop in a cab, or hoof it the whole way, because the bus is much too slow?

    Look at a map – the block lengths between 5th and 3rd are much shorter than those east or west of that span, because Madison and Lex were later insertions into the grid (Park was originally 4th).

    The distance from 3rd to Park and from Park to 5th is the same as the distance from 5th to 6th (922 feet in each case). If you think there should be a stop between 3rd and Park and between Park and 5th, why shouldn’t there also be a stop between 5th and 6th?

    It doesn’t take five minutes to walk from Park to Madison or Lex (it’s 461 feet – less than two north-south blocks), and making an additional stop adds a lot more than 20 seconds to the running time. Stop pulling numbers out of a hat. Even standard local buses – which have absurdly close stop spacing by international standards – don’t have stops as close as 461 feet.

    There will always be complainers. The goal can never be to satisfy all of them, because as soon as you satisfy today’s complainers, a new batch will complain about something else. The goal needs to be to provide a service that balances the needs of all the riders.

  37. To Andrew: And what makes Jarrett Walker the ultimate authority? I agree that when there is a change people who are against it tend to complain more but that amount is maybe two to one, certainly nowhere near 95%. According to your logic, since 50 people showed up at the Town Hall to protest the cut of the B4, 950 were in favor of it. Or since 1,000 signed the petition to bring it back, 100,000 want it to stay eliminated. That is plainly ridiculous.

    Also when a bus stops every other City block, and there are plenty of those left, that is about 461 feet. Also, you fail to consider the fact that the further you make the stops apart, the greater your chance to miss a bus and have to wait another 10 minutes for it which could increase your trip time by 50%. And as I previously stated the only time the bus loses is the acceleration and deceleration time which is a matter of seconds. The people waiting can lose 10 to 15 minutes by having to walk and because

  38. Because they have to walk extra and possibly miss a bus and again many of the people who use buses especially in Manhattan have difficulty walking. Would you rather they use access-a-ride if they qualify?

  39. @164b88b5feda652c00faa544c6ebc3f8:disqus :

    Jarrett Walker is citing a well known phenomenon in transit feedback: people are much, much more likely to give feedback when they are dissatisfied than when they are satisfied. Your examples are absurd – nobody stands to benefit from the elimination of a route segment, while many people (all through riders) do benefit from the elimination of two bus stops.The point Walker makes (in italics!) is “it’s unfair to count comments as though they were votes.” When a service change is made that benefits some and hurts others, the ones who are hurt will provide most of the feedback. Of course former users of the two eliminated stops are complaining, and they have every right to do so. But the net effect on the average rider is still beneficial. The riders who benefit by and large enjoy the faster service without providing feedback.I don’t consider Walker the ultimate authority, but I do find most of his points quite cogent. Unlike you and me, he’s an active transit planner, with experience in three continents.Speaking of Walker, here’s what he says about walking distance. (If you prefer to work in feet, 400 meters is 1,312 feet.) That’s longer than the distance between stops on the M34, even without Madison and Lexington.If it takes you 2 minutes longer to walk to the nearest stop, you will lose 2 minutes on average. If (using your example) the bus runs every 10 minutes, then 20% of the time you’ll miss a bus and have to wait an extra 10 minutes, while 80% of the time you won’t miss a bus and will suffer no time loss at all. On average, you lose 2 minutes.

  40. I have no idea what you’re commenting on here, but the M34, like most Manhattan crosstowns, serves a diverse ridership, including many time-sensitive commuters. The M34 and M34A connect all of the north-south subway lines and the city’s busiest railroad and bus stations with a large number of employers on the East Side. The service needs to balance their needs against the needs of those who ride short distances and prefer shorter stop spacing. How hard is that to understand?

    Access-a-Ride is intended for people physically unable to use fixed-route transit services. If the extra block walk makes it impossible for you to ride the M34, then, yes, please use Access-a-Ride to get to the nearest stop.

  41. Access-a-Ride is not as practical as you make it sound, especially since the M34/M34A get stuck on high-traffic streets. I’ll let that sink in.


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