M14 zooming across 14th

The MTA said that ridership has increased and speeds have decreased on the M14A/D-SBS. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced last Friday that the newly-implemented 14th Street busway has increased ridership on the M14A/D-SBS by 17% on weekdays and up to 37% on weekends and travel time on the route has decreased significantly.

“Our Fast Forward Plan promised improved service to bus riders and that’s exactly what we are delivering,” MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford said. “The new bus priority measures and Select Bus Service on 14th Street are producing tangible benefits, and it’s great to see riders flocking back to the route.”

Preliminary data for the period after the busway was implemented found that a trip between Third and Eighth Avenues in either direction between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. took 10.6 minutes, while the same trip on the M14 took an average of 15.1 minutes in September 2018.

Other performance data on the route has also improved, the MTA said, with improvements on how evenly buses are spaced. This measurement, called a “wait assessment,” improved from 71% in September 2018 to 86% in October 2019. On-time performance also increased from 45.6% in September 2018 to 68% after the busway was implemented.

Although there was a delay in the implementation of the busway, Select Bus Service providing off-fare boarding launched in July for the M14A/D and the MTA said that travel times have been decreasing since then as well.

The total increases amount to 31,000 daily customers on the route. Compared to September of last year, ridership has increased 37% on Saturdays and 29% on Sundays this September, with weekday ridership increasing 15% during the same period, from roughly 26,350 to 30,195. These increases were seen before the busway was officially implemented and once the plan, known as Transit & Truck Priority, went into place on October 2, ridership increased again to 31,000.

Increases in ridership has also been attributed to the ongoing L project, during which many straphangers have been using the bus as an alternative for Manhattan crosstown service.

Transportation blog Streetsblog noted that DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said during a talk with New York Times reporter Winnie Hu on October 10 at Columbia University that the busway on 14th Street might be a template for elsewhere in the city, noting that the plan exceeded expectations because buses are moving faster, the streets are calmer and traffic on the side streets has not increased as critics feared.

Later at the same conference, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson admitted that he had been a skeptic of the busway but was already convinced, calling it the “Miracle on 14th Street,” also noting that, as a resident of 15th Street himself, he hasn’t noticed the side streets getting overrun with cars.

The bus-mounted camera enforcement program that launched for the M15-SBS at the beginning of October is also expected to expand to the M14-SBS, as well as the B44-SBS in Brooklyn, by the end of November in order to increase bus speeds further. The Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) system will be deployed to a total of 123 buses on the M15-SBS, M14-SBS and B44-SBS.

Automated mobile camera systems on the buses capture real-time bus lane violations and aim to increase bus speeds while keeping traffic moving on congested streets. Drivers who remain in a bus lane for five minutes or longer are considered to be violating traffic laws and will be ticketed. Drivers will also be considered in violation if they are captured blocking the bus lane by two successive buses.

4 thoughts on “M14 zooming across 14th

  1. “The total increases amount to 31,000 daily customers on the route. Compared to September of last year, ridership has increased 37% on Saturdays and 29% on Sundays this September, with weekday ridership increasing 15% during the same period, from roughly 26,350 to 30,195. These increases were seen before the busway was officially implemented and once the plan, known as Transit & Truck Priority, went into place on October 2, ridership increased again to 31,000.”

    How to lie with statistics at it’s best. They tell you that ridership increased 37%, 29% and 15% and lead you to believe that is because of the traffic shutdown before they say that the increase from 26350 to 30195 was actually BEFORE the busway was put into effect. Then they give the truth that ridership only increased from 30195 to 31000 (I’m sure they’re rounding up on this number) or about 800 riders. They also fail to mention the traffic on the side streets except for as cursory “it didn’t get any worse” which is pure unadulterated BS. Corey Johnson, Keith Powers and the City Council are not satisfied with chasing 177 people out of the city everyday they want more to move out. Well, if they keep it up, soon San Francisco won’t stand in the way of NYC being #1 in cities with people leaving. Heck, why not, the state is already #1, so….

    • DOT is a master at twisting statistics. They put out a brochure a few years back claiming that bike lanes are great for businesses. Data? City sales tax collection in West Chelsea went steadily up since 2009, when the bike lanes went in.

      Yes, true, but you think that was because of bike lanes, or maybe more to do with the High Line opening that year, and the rezoning of the neighborhood, from low-end auto shops to high-end residential?

  2. Within a few weeks, the total number of M14 buses utilized will undoubtedly be REDUCED (without fanfare). The money “saved” thereby will undoubtedly be diverted to more PR campaigns, Riders Be Damned.
    In afternoon today, the wait for an M23 (not mentioned at all in this pure Puff Piece) was ~20 minutes. Not uncommon.
    And they call this “Select Bus Service”???

  3. After a few ‘introductory’ weeks, the total number of M14 buses in service will be REDUCED (unannounced). Funds “saved” thereby will help fund more stupid PR campaigns, Riders Be Damned.
    Yesterday afternoon, the wait for an M23 (not mentioned in this article) was nearly 20 minutes–not uncommon.
    That’s “Select Bus Service”????
    And remember the signs: “Please Pay Your Fare.” It’s apparently optional now.

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