Report Calls NYC Bus System Slowest in the Nation

Miniature New York City buses are lined up on a table in New York. (Flickr/King Of All Buses)

New York City trains have been getting a bad rap recently, but a new report Monday says that the buses have been so neglected they’re the slowest in the nation, according to city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.

“Within the sprawling Metropolitan Transportation Authority, [the bus system] is overshadowed by subways, commuter rail, and bridges, which enjoy more attention and resources,” the 62-page report states. “The bus system has been stifled. Its routes are often slow, unreliable, long, meandering, confusing, congested, and poorly connected.”

According to the report, the bus system lost 100 million passengers in the last eight years and ridership in Manhattan is down by 16 percent since 2011.

Buses in New York are slowest among the 17 largest bus companies in the nation, the report says. The average MTA bus travels at a “dismal” 7.4 mph, and spends half its time in motion and in traffic, while 21 percent of the time is spent at red lights and 22 percent of the time is spent at bus stops.

The average personal income of bus commuters is $28,455 — $11,545 less than the average income of subway commuters.

The declining bus service is due to the inability of the city and state to work together. “The city, who controls the [traffic] lights, and the state, who controls the buses, can’t work together effectively,” the report said.

Recommendations include more bus terminals and depots, adding battery-electric buses, and adoption of a “more rapid, direct and grid-like bus network.”

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota says the problem is inadequate traffic control and a failure to enforce traffic laws.

“The city comptroller should know better than to blame the victim,” Lhota said. “The MTA bus system is a victim of inadequate traffic control and failure to enforce the traffic laws by the city of New York. The city comptroller would be well-served to focus on the city’s incompetence than blaming the victim.”

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