Monday, August 8, 2011

Queens bus transportation in the dark ages

From the Queens Courier:

Traveling on MTA buses in Queens is dizzying for even the most experienced commuters – let alone the every day New Yorker.

On most Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses, the only route indicator is a map located directly behind the driver’s seat.

The red, green and blue lines that wind and swerve across the borough’s bus map look like a board game gone terribly wrong. For most bus riders, the map is the only way to navigate neighborhoods unknown to them, and the over 100 lines that operate throughout Queens further complicate their commutes.

“It is very difficult to figure out where you’re going, when to get off and whether you've passed your stop or not once you’re on the bus,” said Matt Klopfer from Glendale. “You need a magnifying glass and a college degree to both read and understand the map that is provided on the bus.”

In compliance with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the MTA requires bus drivers to announce bus stops at “transfer points, major intersections and terminal arrivals, as well as any stop requested by a customer,” said Charles Seaton, an MTA spokesperson.

In many cases, there are vandalized and torn maps or no map at all. Buses also lack route identification, providing riders with little to no assistance in planning their trips.

“Since the bus doesn’t have an automatic voice announcing the stop it is basically impossible to know where you are unless you constantly ask the driver. The drivers rarely announce the stops on their own,” Klopfer, a frequent bus rider, said.

According to Seaton, the authority has plans for audio and visual improvements, which will follow the MTA protocol for bus stop announcements. Riders can also use their phones to find directions from online services such as Google Maps and


Anonymous said...

Are Queens residents getting stupider? Seems I recall that there have been buses in Queens for decades and decades, and most people never had a problem figuring out where and when to get off, how much to pay, which bus went where, etc., etc. So, in addition to telling us when to get off the bus, does the mommy state need to spoon feed us, hold our Weiners, and wipe our asses too?

daily bus rider said...

Another problem the MTA may want to correct is the LED identification of bus numbers, destinations, and limited service above the windshield and on the passenger sides of the buses. When squinting into the sun at coming buses, it is impossible to read the LED displays. Also, some bus drivers respond with horrible attitudes if you ask if the bus is limited stops. All they have to do is say yes or no, not "can't you read the sign" - like a small spoiled child.

Kevin Walsh said...

Not only that, 10 years after the MTA purchased several independent carriers, those routes still don't have schedules posted at bus stops.

I wrote Liu's office about this several years ago. No answer. No Asian or union angle.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Queens residents and buses is a language problem. Hardly anyone speaks or reads English anymore. That's why the riders are so confused.

Anonymous said...

Are Queens residents getting stupider? Rhetorical?

Ever see a Queens resident around one of their local politicians?

All giggly goofy and glassy eyed.

I mean, the cover years ago of 7 Days showing Vallone Sr with 'Not Another Queens Politician' said it all.

Next question.

Anonymous said...

In compliance with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the MTA requires bus drivers to announce bus stops at “transfer points, major intersections and terminal arrivals, as well as any stop requested by a customer,” said Charles Seaton, an MTA spokesperson.

I have *never* heard a bus drive announce anything....ever.

Ridgewoodian said...

Never been a huge fan of buses in this city. I find them slow, uncomfortable, and, worst of all, difficult to use, and I only get on them when there are no other choices. Funny thing is, I spent some time in Rome a few years back and within a day or so I was riding the bus all over town like a pro. The difference? Much better sinage at the stops (signs actually told you the name of the stop AND the names of the next three or four stops) and better maps. So I was in a foreign city that I had never been to before, a city laid out more confusingly than Queens or Staten Island, in a country where I spoke no more than a few words of the language, and I had a much easier time bussing around than I ever had in my own country, in a city I've lived in for over twenty years. We could actually learn something from our Italian friends.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I seem to remember having no problem figuring where and when to get off the bus when I was a kid. This must be a new asian thing, right?

Anonymous said...

Queens sucks, I can't wait to move outta this dump!!!!

Joe said...

getting stupider?
Yep, dumb as rocks and kept Beneath
That's just how the mayor and the people the at the helm of the sinking ship want em.

Like obtuse cattle grazing before being led to the slaughter house. The Stupid can be easily be controlled and directed.

I was in Manhattan last week it looks like all new (clean and maintained) buses and nothing but 20+ year old junk pulling into the Fresh Pond Road depot yards

Anonymous said...

If only there was some funding mechanism to give Queens the buses we deserve that would also improve congestion. Hmmm....

Anonymous said...

What would improve congestion in queens? LOL Take your Manhattan congestion pricing scheme and shove it up your ass.

Anonymous said...

Ridgewoodian, I'm sure that the MTA has already dispatched some of its highest level executives to Tuscany, Florence, and Venice for a month at the farepayers' expense.

Anonymous said...

Aha, you're getting warmer!

Anonymous said...

"According to Seaton, the authority has plans for audio and visual improvements"

Yeah, no thanks. Nothing is more annoying than those loud announcements every two blocks that tell you where you are (like on the LI buses). It's bad enough we get reminded to bring our bags with us, and to use the rear exit *every* time someone requests a stop.
It's not THAT hard to find where you're going, this article is ridiculous. I don't think treating people like helpless idiots is going to make them act more intelligently.

You know what would be nice though? Getting schedules and routes up on ALL the lines. Like for the Q53, for example. It's so awesome to be in Rockaway at 3am without any idea as to whether the bus is running.

Anonymous said...

The brainpower of the average Queens resident has never left the dark ages!

Nor do many of them possess any real spunk!

They are invisible to the eyes of practically every department, commission and authority....from the LPC on through the DOB, DOT, MTA, etc.

Developers rule our roost and buy politicians wholesale!

For a borough that boasts the largest land mass and pays a lion's share of taxes to's voters still are on dope when they keep on re-electing those dopes they think are representing them.

Manhattan remains, no doubt, the main hub of power in our metropolis.

But feisty Brooklyn can always be counted upon for screaming out for what it wants and often getting it.

The Bronx wails loudly too and won't sit still until it gets enough of a share of what it wants.

Even little distant Staten Island manages to manage itself well in the "getting" department.

In stark contrast, Queens residents seem to continually fear their politicians and seem afraid to speak up and ask, "Please Sir, I want some more"!

By some Oliver Twist of fate, it looks like Queens has managed to corner the market on gutless wonders.

It's time to speak up you wussies,
and learn that a bayonet is not merely something for buttering bread with!

If you don't learn to stand up for yourselves, then you will forever be some corrupt pol's doormat!

Anonymous said...

Used Queens buses (mostly Triborough Coach until 2006)for the last 20 years. Never had a problem getting around, once I got my hands on a Queens bus map at a subway token booth.

I don't understand what the problem is here? Bus frequency? That's easy: fairly often during rush, nonexistent at night and Sundays, and random at other times. Not exactly a science. Routes? Use a map like I did when I was 14.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Get rid of the inccubents and the incumbent parties! Write in Afredo Centola!