Rider Report: Select Bus Service Shaves Trip Time

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Three days after the debut of Bx12 Select Bus Service, Bronx resident and Tri-State Transportation Campaign Associate Director Veronica Vanterpool rode the route from Co-op City to Inwood. On Mobilizing the Region, she reports that riders are becoming accustomed to the pre-payment system and rear-door boarding, with the help of bus drivers and New York City Transit personnel.

Vanterpool’s trip was unobstructed — for the most part.

Fordham Road, a dense shopping district, is one of the most congested
areas along the route and it was refreshing to see cars backed up in
Fordham Plaza while the bus cruised by in the empty bus lane. However,
a few blocks ahead, our smooth sailing was interrupted by a NYCT van
and two delivery vans.

Vanterpool says police are continuing to monitor the lanes, and that nearly 100 tickets were handed out on Monday, the first weekday of SBS service. Her ride was 48 minutes, compared to the pre-SBS average of 65. Vanterpool predicts that time savings will increase as passengers get used to the system’s features, as long as "vigilant enforcement" of bus lanes continues.

Photo: Mobilizing the Region

  • The image of a NYCT van standing in the bus lane makes me imagine an Amtrak employee parking his car on train tracks and saying “it’s okay, I work for the same company, so I’m entitled to this space.”

  • JK

    This is a spectacular improvement for a bus on a crowded city street.(26% faster.)This must be much better than what was publicly projected. Of course that’s just one ride, not an avg of hundreds. Still.

    “Her ride was 48 minutes, compared to the pre-SBS average of 65.”

  • A cyclist could do this same trip in the same amount of time or less, which is why a protected bike lane is needed on Fordham Road to complement the SBS.

  • bureaucrat

    Fordham Road is pretty space-constrained, Urbanis. How would you see it fitting?

  • B-Rand

    Every time I see someone parked in a bus lane or a bike lane, I want to go past their car smearing the side with a black perm marker.

  • Hi Bureaucrat, great question! Here are a couple of ways to do it.

    (1) Have SBS and bikes share a protected lane.
    (2) Take away parking on Fordham Road and replace it with bike lanes.

  • Spud Spudly

    Rah, rah for SBS. But I must say that in general I hate bus lanes that are directly adjacent to sidewalks. It really sucks to be walking down the street and have a bus whiz by 8 inches from your head.

  • vatcat

    Can these busses be fitted with cameras to capture the license plates of vehicles blocking the bus lanes ? This way the offenders can be issued a parking ticket in the mail. It takes a real douchebag to block the progress of an entire busload of people for ones own convenience. Ticket the bus-blockers and after that ticket the doorstanding douchebags on the subway !

  • Ian Turner
  • bureaucrat

    Urbanis – the bus lanes already occupy the parking lane – at least in the stretch I’m familiar with (near the LIRR station). The road is pretty narrow. And if bikes shared a separated bus lane, there is not enough room for both to ride side by side – bikes would feel trapped in front of and behind buses. Basically, there is currently only the equivalent of 4 lanes to work with. Not much wiggle room.

  • Bureaucrat, I respectfully disagree about Fordham Road being “pretty narrow”. Prince Street is narrow but Fordham Road is not. I see six lanes total–how is that narrow? For each direction you have three lanes divided into two for automobile traffic and one for buses. The sidewalks are fairly broad as well. I see no reason why Fordham Road can’t be put on a road diet and have some space taken away from traffic to give to bike lanes. If you decrease the capacity for car traffic, you will ultimately decrease the amount of car traffic.

  • Lex

    Hrm I live in Co-Op and used to take the 12 waaaaaay back when it was less crowded along Fordham Road and White Plains Road. Hearing that the 12 now takes 48 (!!!) minutes to inwood is astouding. That’s great, I think a lot more people in this neighborhood (locals, not shoppers of Bay Plaza) will utilize the 12 past Pelham Bay Station. Cheers

  • Okay, I had my first opportunity to ride the SBS yesterday from Inwood to Fordham and University. My verdict is it will get better as people figure out the system and potential time efficiencies are realized. People still tended to board from the front and would flash their receipts at the driver, even though they are supposed to simply board at any door and sit down. There were MTA employees helping out at the stops, though that meant at the second stop that the bus waited a long time while the MTA employee coached everyone through purchasing their tickets at the machine, etc. Since the travel lane in Inwood is restricted to buses only on M-F during rush hours (7-10 am, 4-7 pm), and I was traveling on a Sunday, we still had to sit in traffic at points.

    It’s definitely not comparable to an above-ground subway yet, but it’s a good start.

  • BXNYer

    This SBS stands for Such Bull S**t!! For one, they eliminated the stop at Sedgwick Ave. where many people from Fordham Hill and surrounding buildings get on at. We either have to walk to University Ave. or Cedar Ave which is an unsafe area!!! What if that little piece of paper they call proof of purchase we get flies out of our hands? If not, the drivers don’t care about that damn paper, it’s a waste time and trees. I could use that paper for the next day, and NO ONE will know!!! Hows that for evading fares??!! Wait till those machines brake or lines will grow and people will try to cut in front of you as buses whiz by. This SBS does cut time at all! I STILL get caught in traffic at the 207th st bridge!!! How about going down Bailey Ave. and using the 225th St. bridge to save time???? A 5 yr old could have thought of that!!! Such idiots! And when I get off the 1 train at 207th and 10 Ave, I have to either again, get off at Cedar Ave or University Ave. A big incovenience for everyone. A waste of tax payers money!!! MTA is ALWAYS SCREWING US OVER!

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