This Awards Season, Manhattan Buses Rank as the City’s Worst

This woman waiting for the M4 in Washington Heights may have to wait a lot longer: it is the city's least reliable bus. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/en321/6949250643/##Susan NYC/Flickr##

Since 2006, Streetsblog has provided red carpet coverage of the annual Pokey and Schleppie awards, given out by the Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives to the city buses with the slowest average speed and the least reliable service, respectively. This year, Manhattan buses took the crown in both categories.

Although the awards spotlight the routes most notorious for crawling through traffic, stopping at every block, and bunched three in a row, there is a bright spot: Select Bus Service has been living up to its promises — with more routes set to get the speedier service in the coming years.

In the survey, the Bx12 SBS on Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway traveled at 7.9 mph, 19.6 percent faster than the Bx12 local’s 6.6 mph. Meanwhile, on First and Second Avenues in Manhattan, M15 Select buses moved along at 7.8 mph — 50 percent faster than the M15 local, which lumbered at 5.2 mph.

These numbers didn’t come from nowhere: Although not as robust as Bus Rapid Transit in other cities, SBS features limited-stop service, camera-enforced bus lanes, off-board fare collection and, in many cases, transit priority at stop lights. Buses without these improvements remain stuck in gridlock.

The result? This year, there is a tie for the Pokey award, with the M66 and M42 crosstown buses both clocking in at 3.9 mph. In a statement, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said these buses “would lose a race to an amusement park bumper car,” which can hit top speeds of 4.3 mph.

Straphangers and TA analyzed bus data citywide, and each borough has its very own Pokey award winner. The full list, plus the highly-anticipated Schleppie award results, after the jump.

Each borough’s slowest bus route, including the award-winning crosstown Manhattan buses:

  • Brooklyn: B35 LTD between Sunset Park and Brownsville (5.6 mph)
  • Bronx: Bx19 between New York Botanical Garden and Harlem (4.9 mph)
  • Manhattan (tie): M42 Crosstown on 42nd Street (3.9 mph)
  • Manhattan (tie): M66 Crosstown on 65th and 66th Streets (3.9 mph)
  • Queens: Q58 between Ridgewood and Flushing Main Street (7.0 mph)
  • Staten Island: S48 between Mariners Harbor and St. George Ferry Terminal (8.1 mph)

The Schleppie is awarded to the city’s most unreliable route, with more than 20 percent of buses bunched together or with major gaps in service. The bus riders of Queens can breathe easy this year, since none of their borough’s routes qualified for the award. Instead, the winner was the M4, which ranked as 28.3 percent unreliable. Buses in the other boroughs did not fare much better:

  • Brooklyn: B15 between Bedford-Stuyvesant and JFK Airport on New Lots and Marcus Garvey Avenues (20.1 percent unreliable)
  • Bronx: Bx41 between Williamsbridge and the Hub on Webster Avenue (21.8 percent unreliable)
  • Manhattan: M4 between Fort Tryon Park and Penn Station on 5th and Madison Avenues and Broadway (28.3 percent unreliable)
  • Staten Island: S78 between St. George Ferry and Bricktown Mall on Hylan Boulevard (25.8 percent unreliable)

For more on the state of New York City buses, take a look at the award methodology and the full tables showing bus speeds and unreliable routes.

  • Andrew

    Bear in mind that only 34 routes were measured (in some cases only the limited and not the local) for the Pokey Award – one round trip each, all during the summer (June 1 – September 11), when traffic patterns are different and ridership is down on most lines.

    I’m no statistician, but this study seems pretty meaningless to me.

  • Guest 50000

    This study is pure b.s.; they should go to all of bus routes and get a good data how they run then compare to MTA traffic checkers data. See difference!

  • Keithgvp

    And who or what’s to blame?  Look no further than car traffic that has impeded surface public transit since 1905!

  • G

    I agree with the m42 cos Friday night I arrive at 10th and 42nd at 7.50pm, the buses were scheduled approx every 10 mins, it arrived at 8.19 and the driver was not one of the ones that were driving west.
    And yes, this route has a lot be desired, do the drivers have to wear the award? Lol

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Manhattan Bus Routes Sweep the 2013 Pokey and Schleppie Awards

|
The Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives today handed out their annual awards for the slowest and least reliable NYC buses, with Manhattan routes taking the honors. The M42 and the M50 tied for the 2013 Pokey award. Each crosstown bus was clocked at 3.4 miles per hour at noon on a weekday. That’s slower than […]

City Receives Federal Funding for Full Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Route

|
The first Select Bus Service route in Brooklyn is on track to start speeding bus trips next year, after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced yesterday afternoon that the project has secured a $28 million federal grant. The B44 route on Nostrand, Rogers, and Bedford Avenues, which runs between Sheepshead Bay […]

Manhattan Buses Dominate Pokey and Schleppie Awards

|
Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign (l) and TA’s Paul Steely White unveil this year’s honorees Two Manhattan bus routes took home awards for slowest and least reliable service in the 2008 Pokey and Schleppie Awards, issued today by the Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives. The Pokey went to the M96 crosstown, which clocked an […]

Select Bus Service Comes to Brooklyn

|
Yesterday was the first day of service for Brooklyn’s first Select Bus Service route, upgrading the B44 Limited with a dedicated bus lane, off-board fare collection, bus bulbs, and fewer stops. It’s the sixth SBS route to enter service, following two in the Bronx, two in Manhattan, and one in Staten Island. In addition to […]

The Bronx Gets Its Second Select Bus Service Route

|
Yesterday marked the launch of Select Bus Service on Webster Avenue, speeding transit trips on a critical north-south corridor that lacks convenient subway access. To keep buses in motion, NYC DOT and the MTA upgraded the Bx41 route with dedicated bus lanes, pre-paid fare collection, and all-door boarding. Bus bulbs will be constructed at SBS […]