And the City's Slowest Bus Is …

Annual Straphangers Campaign report rates slowest, least reliable bus routes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Manhattan's M42 wins the 2010 Pokey Award.

    If you're considering taking Manhattan's M42, you should save your $2.25 and rely on your feet.

    You'll get wherever you're going just as fast by walking – or faster.

    For the second straight year, the M42, which runs right through Times Square, earned the award for slowest route in the system, clocking in at a snail-like 3.6 miles per hour at noon on a weekday, according to the Straphangers campaign's newest report.

    The annual report, now in its ninth year, is based on actual rides taken by Straphangers Campaign staff and volunteers on 29 local bus routes selected for either their high ridership or their notoriously slow Manhattan crosstown routes. The not-so-coveted "winner" of the Pokey award receives a golden snail on a pedestal.

    “Many city buses travel in excruciating slow motion,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign.

    Russianoff noted that for some routes, the pace is not much faster than a young person walking, which averages about 3.6 miles per hour.

    The M42 moves 12,847 riders on an average weekday and ranks 79th in riders out of the 194 local bus routes.

    According to the Straphangers campaign, here are the buses in each borough you want to avoid if you're an a hurry:

    • B35 5.4 mph Between Sunset Park and Brownsville
    • Bx19 5.1 mph Between Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Harlem
    • M42 3.6 mph Crosstown on 42nd Street in Manhattan
    • Q58 6.6 mph Between Ridgewood, Queens, and Flushing/Main Street
    • S48 8.2 mph Between Richmond Terrace and St. George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island


    Oh, and if you're a stickler for dependability, avoid the Bronx's Bx41, which earned the 2010 Schleppie award – a prize featuring golden lumbering elephants on a pedestal awarded to the worst reliable bus route, according to official transit statistics. 

    The Bx41, running on White Plains Road and Webster Avenue between the Wakefield and the Hub, moves 27,383 riders on an average weekday and has the 15th-highest bus ridership in the city. Almost one in four of those buses arrived bunched together or came with big gaps in service during the first half of 2010. 

    If you're wondering, the most unreliable bus routes include:

    • B44 21.7% unreliable btw Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg on Nostrand Avenue
    • Bx41 23.5 % unreliable btw Wakefield and The Hub on White Plains Rd/Webster Ave
    • M101/2/3 22.3% unreliable btw Upper and Lower Manhattan on 3rd and Lexington Avenues
    • S78 21.8% unreliable btw St. George Ferry and Tottenville on Hylan Boulevard

    Fortunately, improvements are already underway.

    "The next generation of buses is making inroads in New York City — Select Bus Service can cut travel time for riders,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “Where these fast buses have been tried in the Bronx, travel times dropped at least 20 percent. Similar improvements were recently installed on Manhattan’s East Side. Rather than pokey and schleppie buses, New Yorkers deserve quick and efficient bus service. We are encouraged by thecity’s willingness to make New York’s buses work better."