Apparently, Assembly Member Bill Colton Thinks Women Don’t Ride Buses

Bus lanes are "anti-women," Colton says, oblivious to the fact that most bus commuters in Brooklyn are women.

To Bill Colton, setting aside street space for faster, more reliable bus service is "anti-women." Photo: DOT
To Bill Colton, setting aside street space for faster, more reliable bus service is "anti-women." Photo: DOT

Every day, New Yorkers make 28,000 trips on the B82 bus, one of Brooklyn’s slowest and least reliable routes. Based on commute patterns in Brooklyn, most of the people making those trips are women.

Assembly Member William Colton doesn’t see it that way. In fact, according to Kings County Politics, Colton thinks the DOT and MTA’s plan to speed up B82 service this spring with bus lanes and other improvements is “anti-women.” The bus lanes, you see, will replace some curbside parking spots for six hours a day, therefore they are misogynist — makes perfect sense, right?

Assembly Member William Colton
Assembly Member William Colton

On Monday, Colton joined the band of elected officials trying to stymie bus lanes that would improve service between MacDonald Avenue and Ocean Avenue, where buses travel at an average speed of less than 5 mph. In Colton’s district, 59 percent of workers commute by transit, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, yet he values a few parking spots more than reliable rush hour bus service for thousands of people.

“This neighborhood does not need [Select Bus Service],” Colton said at a press conference on Monday, according to KCP. “You have a problem that is going to be created and made worse because of the city imposing a solution for a problem that it’s not going to solve, that it is in fact going to make worse.”

What does all this word salad even mean? Think fast, because there’s more where that came from. Colton also thinks making the B82 faster and more reliable is “anti-women.” Apparently, Colton’s argument, if you can call it such, is that, in KCP’s words, women “work locally” or “would find parking an increased obstacle in caring for their families.”

What about the obstacles facing women who don’t have access to a car? What about women who ride the bus to get to work so they can care for their families?

In Brooklyn as a whole, women are far more likely than men to commute by bus. Women account for 66,000 daily bus commuters in the borough, compared to 38,000 men, according to the Census.

But to Bill Colton, women who ride the bus might as well not exist.

Of course, like Colton, I’m a man and I lack the authority to define what is or is not “anti-women.” But I can tell you that better bus service helps everyone, regardless of gender.

The vast majority of people shopping on Kings Highway come by foot or by transit, according to DOT surveys.

DOT and MTA surveyed 7,500 Kings Highway shoppers, and found the overwhelming majority weren't coming by car. Image: DOT
DOT and MTA surveyed 7,500 Kings Highway shoppers, and found the overwhelming majority weren’t coming by car. Image: DOT

The jumble of double-parking and curbside dysfunction on Kings Highway is one of the main factors preventing buses on Kings Highway from operating reliably.

For six hours a day, the new bus lanes will change that, and for thousands of people, access to Kings Highway will improve.

On Sunday at 10 a.m., Colton and other bus lane opponents are planning to rally against the plan at Kings Highway and MacDonald Avenue. There’s also a pro-SBS counter-protest in the works.

DOT and MTA already scaled back the bus lanes to six hours a day. Will they back down again, to the detriment of bus riders, or will they see this important project through?

“SBS will bring shorter travel times and more reliable service for 28,000 daily riders along one of Brooklyn’s busiest bus routes,” a DOT spokesperson said. “DOT and MTA have done detailed consultation with the community and its leaders about this route for the last three years and we will continue to speak with elected officials in the weeks ahead to garner further feedback about the project.”

  • djx

    From what I see (living in Manhattan) bus ridership definitely skews female as well.

  • kevd

    is that what’s called “concern trolling”?

  • Women bus riders only count 2/3, so are less important that women car drivers. Says so in the constitution. (snark)

  • Larry Littlefield

    Bus riding skewed heavily female back in the bad old days. Men would pay for their wives and daughters to take express buses so they wouldn’t have to ride the subway, which skewed male.

    As for Colton, Brooklyn now has two auto-oriented shopping centers along the Belt Parkway, Kings Plaza and Gateway. So those female drivers can go to places built for them. Or better yet, move to the suburbs or to Florida where they belong.

    Meanwhile, Kings Highway was built for transit riders, and wrecked by drivers.

  • qedestrian

    I am a woman who just waited half an hour for a bus in southern Brooklyn! Lots of other women were on the bus too, of course (a little over half the total passengers, I’d say). No one seemed too happy about all the private cars slowing us down, that’s for sure.

  • Brill 93

    They all just sit there waiting for a park or for someone. Like seriously if you need to pick someone up go to the corner and have them meet you there.

  • war_on_hugs

    Make no mistake, Colton and other anti-SBS complainers don’t care at all about women or whatever their stated gripe is. It’s simply a complaint from local business owners who perceive their customer base as being primarily drivers. (Completely ignoring the copious evidence that says otherwise, of course.) See: http://brooklynreporter.com/story/colton-business-owners-pan-select-bus-service-bensonhurst/

    “This is directly affecting us,” said Larry Greenberg, a local dentist. “[Patients are] often late because they can’t find parking now. They often drive around for 45 minutes. It backs us up.

    I hope other neighborhood residents can organize an effective counter-protest. Right now politicians almost exclusively hear from the loudest voices in the room, who are extremely pro-parking because that’s all they themselves use regularly.

  • JR

    They complain about bus lanes stealing parking, but instead of taking it out on bus riders, we can improve parking via a number of other routes while keeping bus lanes, such as: 1. charging more for the available parking, 2. taking away more free parking, and 3. discouraging personal vehicle ownership by inplemeting a zoned permit system for parking a car in your home area (for a yearly fee).

    But they would never go along with a scheme to make it more expensive to drive. God forbid the privledged drivers are ever inconvenienced.

  • Andrew

    We could also free up spots by making bus service faster and more reliable.

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