Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bringing BRT to Queens

From the Times Ledger:

As growing numbers of Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island residents work outside Manhattan, thousands endure tough commutes to work on a transit system never designed for their trips, an urban think tank says.

“Fortunately, relatively inexpensive changes to the city’s bus system could plug many of the holes in the city’s existing transit network and vastly improve the quality of life of many working poor New Yorkers,” the Center for an Urban Future reported.

The New York City-based center said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority should provide Bus Rapid Transit super express buses to connect the many areas between boroughs other than Manhattan. The BRT buses would cost tens of millions of dollars as compared to hundreds of millions for new subway lines.

The BRT buses, in service in the Bronx and on Manhattan’s East Side, require paying before boarding through any door, offer other time-saving features and have BRT-only lanes that have been successful the world over.

But the center contended that few of the MTA’s recommendations for BRT service would solve the lack of inter-borough buses.

The report said, “Most of the low-income residents we interviewed rely on a bus to get out of their neighborhoods and they complain of multiple transfers and long, undependable commutes.”

“New York City’s transit system was not designed for commuter trips to jobs within and between boroughs outside of Manhattan and partly as a result, the city’s median commute times have been climbing for decades,” the report said.

The center found that the commute times are among the highest in any large American city, ranging from 52 minutes each way in Brooklyn to 69 minutes each way in Staten Island.


Anonymous said...

I'm not one of the 'working poor', but have friends in Brooklyn and the long transit times from Queens are frustrating considering that the distances over land aren't that great.

It would be great to have some bus lines going between Queens and into Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Too many people and the roads can't handle the extra capacity.Brt may cut a few minutes off commuter times.The downside is loss of parking,due to an exclusive bus lane.That translates into lost revenue for merchants and a hassle for everyone else.....

Anonymous said...

There are simple ways to pay for new bus lines to run inter bough, namely edit all of the Manhattan lines by reducing service by 15% and allocate the 15% to new lines proposed. It's simple. Also some Manhattan lines run all to frequently vs 2x an hour for most Queens lines. Cut back Manhattan lines from 20 bus an hour to 10 (50%) on Sat & Sundays. Any bus lines going North / South should be further reduced or eliminated entirely.

Erik Baard said...

Manhattan certainly has more redundancies (especially longitudinally) than Queens and often has more indoor shelter options (nearby stores and such) for those waiting for buses. For outer borough residents, waiting for a bus can translate to long stretches exposed to foul weather and feeling insecure on dark streets. Taxis are infrequent and too expensive for many commuters.

If the MTA and DOT can squeeze some budget out of Manhattan to improve and encourage mass transit in the outer boroughs, the cause is just and the means are logical.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please bring BRT to Queens!

Anonymous said...

Queens buses are terrible. Most of the buses in Queens are always late and packed with people, or just don't show up.

Take most of the buses out of Manhattan and put them in the outer boros. Manhattan does not need all those buses, when they have the subway, taxis, and bike lanes they love so much.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

I can imagine the Q88 and Q46 having a BRT because they're among the longer routes in our borough.

Anonymous said...

Seems like if we implemented the pre-boarding payment system, the buses would run faster without necessarily having a dedicated bus lane. Perhaps a dedicated lane in certain congested spots or bottlenecks, but in many cases buses do not need dedicated lanes over the entire length of the route.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 8 - So can a lot of people, but the Community Board and elected officials tore a proposal to do that to shreds a few years ago.