Bus Tracking Sabotage: NYPD Clogs 34th Street Lane After Displays Go Live

bus_display.jpg

We’ve got two dispatches from the opening day of real-time bus arrival displays on 34th Street. First, the good photo: A reader sent the above shot of the display inside the shelter at Third Avenue. That’s a nice crisp presentation. Are the times accurate? None of the dailies ran blaring headlines about haywire displays today, so you’ve got to assume the tracking system performed decently.

A report in AMNY did say that the displays sometimes announced arrivals before any bus pulled up to the shelter. We have a theory about one factor behind the glitches: Maybe the bus riders who encountered overly optimistic countdown times were stationed at the eastbound stop on Park Avenue. Before buses could reach that shelter during the evening rush, they had to contend with a convoy of 12 police cruisers hogging the bus lane on the south side of 34th between Fifth and Sixth:

bus_lane_blockers.jpgThe 34th Street bus lane, yesterday at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Not only are these parked squad cars slowing buses down by forcing them into the other traffic lane, I’m guessing they’re also throwing the whole predictive bus tracking algorithm for a big loop.

The alert reader who sent the photo, recalling the last time bus-blocking police cruisers were sighted, noted that the squad cars came from several different precincts in a contiguous area of Brooklyn (the 61, 62, 66, 67, 70, 71, 72, and 78, to be specific). The NYPD has yet to respond to Streetsblog’s request for an explanation.

The mayor, who appeared personally at yesterday’s bus tracking presser, seems to be banking pretty heavily on a visible transit improvement to score points with voters this election season. Maybe this time someone at Bloomberg 2009 will ask the NYPD to stop using a heavily trafficked exclusive bus lane as their exclusive parking lot.

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