Former city councilwoman: London buses better than SBS

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Workers stand by a newly built bus stop for the M23, which now has Select Bus Service, at 23rd Street and Broadway. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Carol Greitzer, a former City Council member representing Peter Cooper Village, reached out to T&V this week to respond to the story, “Select Bus Services arrives along M23 route,” in T&V, November 10.
The article cited city data claiming SBS has sped up service on participating routes by 10-30 percent. Its launch on 23rd Street was cheered by local officials, who pointed out the M23 crosstown’s infamous pokiness.

However, in Greitzer’s view, the city came up short in its response, and would have done better if it had followed a fare payment system similar to one in London.

There, she noted, there are two ways to pay a fare, one with a pre-paid card called an “oyster,” bought ahead of time, while another option is paying with a credit card, as long as the card has a readable chip in it, and getting billed monthly.

“It’s so much more advanced than what we’ve got,” said Greitzer.

The fare machines implemented here next to bus stops, she added, are problematic.

“When you have to pay the fare on a rainy day on the street when you have an open umbrella and maybe another package and then you have to find your card — any time you talk to a group of people, everyone has a story about how a machine on the street didn’t work and how they’re grappling with it and the bus took off,” said Greitzer. “There are a lot of negatives to this and this system just delays a much better system.”

Greitzer is a resident of the West Village and served in the City Council from 1969-1991.

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