By Sabina Mollot
Following a report that showed the buses in his district were the slowest in the city, State Senator Brad Hoylman has called for an audit into the MTA’s bus service and wait times.
Hoylman made the request via a letter to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Monday, calling the local bus service “dismal.” His district, the 27th, includes Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, the East Village, midtown, East Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, Columbus Circle and the Upper West Side.
“Here in my own district, we’ve nicknamed some of the buses across town: The Turtle, The Sloth and The Slug,” said Hoylman, of the M42, the M50 and the M23, respectively.
One of those buses, the M23, is a two-time recipient of the Straphangers Campaign’s infamous Pokey award, which is given to the slowest route in the city.
Because of the unreliability of the buses, Hoylman added, “Straphangers, including those here in my district, have abandoned buses in droves. I’m hopeful that a comprehensive audit will shine a light on what’s ailing the MTA’s bus service and begin to restore faith in our beleaguered transit system.”
The report, which was issued by the Transit Turnaround Coalition, said in the district, bus speeds average 4.7 miles per hour, in comparison with an average seven miles per hour in the rest of the city. The coalition is affiliated with groups like NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign and Riders Alliance, according to its website.
Asked about Hoylman’s request, a spokesperson for the comptroller said he’d received the letter and is reviewing it.
Meanwhile, the MTA responded by saying improvements to buses are in the works and in some cases have already been made like the launching of Select Bus Service along the M23 route.
SBS service, said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz, has been successful in reducing wait times and the agency is expanding it.
“Every bus in our system can be tracked with GPS,” he said, “and customers can access this information on the MTA Bus Time app. The same data we use for the app we use to monitor bus schedule and service to help mitigate issues that may arise on the road in real time. Installation of a new fare payment system, which is being worked on, will also speed up boarding.”
He added that the MTA is working with the DOT to roll out the Traffic Signal Prioritization program, which holds traffic signals green, citywide.
Another goal is to offer all-door boarding “where it is practical to do so.”
Ortiz also said the MTA is working with the NYPD to deal with ongoing traffic issues that contribute to longer wait times like cars in bus lanes and double-parked vehicles.