THE COMMUTE: The MTA is proposing Select Bus Service (SBS) on the B46 Utica Avenue bus route scheduled for autumn implementation this year. It was scheduled for discussion at the MTA Transit Committee meeting this past May 18. The information is provided on the ‘Staff Summary,’ on pages 133 to 138 of the agenda. Community meetings have already been held.
Here are some questions for the MTA regarding the proposed B46 SBS:
- Why implement the B46 before we have the results as to whether the parallel B44 is a success or not?
- When can we expect to see that first year assessment for the B44 SBS? Annual ridership figures show B44 ridership declined of over four percent since SBS introduction, twice the borough average.
- Overall, SBS ridership on all seven SBS routes declined by one percent between 2013 and 2014, yet the staff summary states SBS ridership increased by 10 percent. How do you account for that discrepancy?
- You state in the staff summary that the B46 SBS will cost the MTA $2.6 million extra in yearly operating costs. Why increase operating costs and also reduce ridership? If this decrease in ridership is a temporary phenomenon due to extraneous factors, why didn’t you mention that?
- You list the alternative as maintaining the “slow and inefficient current operation,” but wasn’t the introduction of Limiteds supposed to speed up and increase the efficiency of the route? Are you now saying that the Limited was a failure?
- Wouldn’t another alternative be to wait until you have the articulated buses before you begin operation? Why is that not mentioned?
- What is the rush to start B46 SBS operations without articulated buses? Why not wait until they arrive to relieve overcrowding?
- You don’t mention in your analysis that Broadway passengers who must transfer to another bus will pay an additional fare to take advantage of SBS if they do not have an unlimited MetroCard. Isn’t that a flaw in the current fare policy that needs to be corrected before you implement additional SBS routes? (Their other option is a slower trip than the current Limited by staying on the local. This will affect thousands of daily riders, which you neglect to mention.)
- In your ‘Staff Summary’, you inaccurately state that there are six SBS routes in the city when there are actually seven. You also state that the B46 has the second highest daily average ridership in the city when it really is the third highest after the Bx12 and the M15. Are you making other mistakes in your analysis as to why the B46 SBS is needed?
- You also don’t mention in the ‘Staff Summary’ that riders who board south of Avenue H, where both the Local and Limited currently stop, will have to either walk an extra long block to the SBS or wait twice as long for a bus in many cases. Are board members being given all the information they need to make an intelligent decision?
Here are the Annual Ridership statistics for SBS routes for the last two years:
* Not including the decrease in passengers on the S78 — which acts as the S79 SBS’s local — of 123,135.
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).
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