Letters to the Editor, Jan. 1

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

MTA not responding to M15 concerns

To the Editor:

As a former chair of the Transit Committee of the City Council, I was interested to read about the M15 bus’s “most unreliable” award (December 18 T&V). There is a lot wrong with the way the local and the Select Bus Service operate – but the MTA does not seem inclined to evaluate the situation from the passenger’s viewpoint.

Dr. Fernandez is right in pointing out that SBS buses frequently take off while people are on line trying to buy their tickets. This route is a busy hospital corridor, and many people are using this system for the first time. So they have to read the instructions – but if it’s dark out, or if they have to reach for their glasses, or if their MetroCard doesn’t go through on the first try, they and those standing behind them are likely to miss the bus.

Bob Kaplan (writer of letter, “M15 bus’s ‘award’ is well-deserved,” T&V, Dec. 18) is right in commenting on the many times would-be passengers at a local M15 stop see “at least three ‘Select’” buses roar by while they wait – seemingly for an eternity – for the local…

If there exists any signage informing people that there are two different bus lines serving the same route, I haven’t seen it. That’s why so many people wave frantically, wondering why the bus doesn’t stop for them. How about signs explaining the situation? – and even informing the public where the alternate bus stop is – say one block north or one block south? Even an arrow would be better than nothing.

Which brings us to a major passenger objection to the way these buses operate. Many people are willing to take whatever bus comes along first – local or express – but it is virtually impossible to do so on First and Second Avenues. Even where the two stops are next to each other as at 14th and First, and one could manage to sprint from one stop to the other, the conflicting ticket-buying procedures would almost invariably render impossible this hypothetical “choice.” Once again passenger options are severely limited.

What I’ve cited above are largely procedural difficulties, some of which could be rectified, or eased, by an innovative MTA. But there are policy questions largely ignored by said agency.

Buses are the transportation method of choice for a growing segment of the population: many elderly (who are increasing in numbers) as well as others who, whatever the reason, cannot climb subway steps. And if they can’t climb steps, it seems reasonable to assume that they might have difficulty walking extra blocks to find a bus stop that works for them.

There was a time in our city when this population was served by more frequent bus stops – not fewer. Today the goal of Select buses is to make the trip faster — regardless of how many people are inconvenienced by the process.

Giving customers what they want is usually the formula for a successful business. Before expanding the Select service, perhaps the MTA should identify its customer base – and then take steps to accommodate these frustrated riders.

Carol Greitzer,
Former City Council member representing
Peter Cooper Village

New L entrance not enough to end crowding

To the editor:

Reading “MTA hoping to fund Ave. A entrance for First Ave. L station,” T&V, Dec. 25, gave me the shudders.

Each time I board the L train at First Avenue. I can only be amazed by the jam of people on the platform and the stuffed condition of the train. True, most of my experience with that station is in the five-hour morning period, but that is a considerable amount of time when you think about it.  Putting an entrance to the station at Avenue A may lessen the stress at the front end of the 8th Avenue bound, but it will not eliminate the congestion caused by commuters and the now unaccommodating platform.

The platform on First Avenue and the packed-sardine-like conditions of the trains there (as well as system-wide) is just another example of an over-population that has stressed all sort of service from transportation to schools, to sewerage treatment, to Con Ed, to the wild growth of glass tower high-rises, to garbage disposal, to the non-stop increases in rent — on this last imagine putting itzy-bitzy studio apartments for normal insane rents here in Stuy Town in a flood zone where management has deemed it unsafe to return its own offices!  Over-population makes the bizarre reasonable.

Other than our thoughtless willingness to do this to ourselves, the absence of objection from elected government is quite deafening. Isn’t it! So . . . how about multiple story apartments on 14th street and Avenue A? Now whatever brought me to think of that!?

Sandra Linn, ST


8 thoughts on “Letters to the Editor, Jan. 1

  1. First Avenue used to be a really fast-moving “sail uptown” Avenue. Then that useless, seriously intelligence-challenged Sadik-Kahn woman put in bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes so NOTHING moved! The Select Bus is an affront to seniors and disabled people who might not want to fight to get on and off the Select Bus at stops that might be a considerable distance from where they really want to get off and on the bus. The fact that there are about a dozen Select Buses to every local bus is simply rank discrimination against seniors and disabled.

    There was nothing wrong with the Limited. It’s stops were also local stops and most people knew where to pick up a Limited if they needed one.

    As for all the condos, dorms, whatever that are being built along 14th Street from First to D: how are all these people going to get on or off the subways and buses (notwithstanding a possible extra subway entrance at Avenue A)? Don’t people in City Planning (or whatever they call themselves) actually THINK about these things? The population we have now doesn’t fit on the not-so-great train and bus service we have here now. There’s a limit as to how many more buses we can have going across 14th without them having to travel in procession. There is most definitely a limit as to how many trains can be added to the L line because of there only being two tracks. One train breaks down or has a “police incident” or “sick passenger” and the whole lot of them, each way, are stalled.

    I don’t see any forethought or intelligence going into City Planning these days. Only greed and stupidity. The developers and planners love each other at the expense and safety of the general public.

    • Re: Comment by Frances Clarke:

      People often complain about Mayor Bloomberg. My take is that on him is that he was an excellent and innovative chief executive. His adding bike lanes (which are common in many European cities) reduces the number of cars and space transit uses.

      His select bus service (e.g., the M15) allows a saving of as much as 20 minutes on a ride, and produces a more efficient use of fuel and buses. In fact, my major criticism of him is that he made New York City so much better (e. g., the continuing reduction of violent crime) he made all of the five boroughs so much better, more persons want to live here. Ergo, the cost for rentals and co-ops have sky rocketed.

      • I detested Bloomberg. This is NOT a European city and he was an idiot to try to make it one. Bloomberg did more harm than good IMO.

  2. In fact of all bus routes in NYC, I now use the M15 more than any other. And, now with the edition of the select service, I often now use this new bus service when in the past, I would have used a taxi. It’s your turn now . . .

  3. Glad you love the Select bus, but the problem is with the dearth of regular M15 service. Many of us need to get on and off at the stops between the SB stops and that service has been cut drastically since the SBS started. For the elderly, disable or people just loaded with shopping, this is a major inconvenience. The SBS does not serve a large number of passengers.

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