The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and TransitCenter released a new “award” today, highlighting the most closely spaced bus stops in New York City. The awards were the result of an analysis of the closest-spaced bus stop pairs for each of New York City’s five boroughs. The full report could be found here.
The un-coveted “Cozies” were awarded to bus stop pairs spaced at-or-below 260 feet apart, which is slightly less than a Manhattan city block. In contrast, the MTA’s own standard for minimum stop spacing between bus stops is 750 feet. After analyzing every MTA Bus and New York City Transit bus stop pairing in the city, the groups found that 32 stop pairs qualified for the award, affecting 37 routes.
Bus stops that are spaced too closely cause major challenges for New York’s bus system. By having to frequently pull in and out of stops, waiting for riders to exit and board, and merging into heavily congested streets, bus stops spaced too closely can lead to slower bus speeds and increased unreliability.
The most closely-spaced bus stop pairs in each borough are:
|Gun Hill Road, Gunther Ave, & Allerton
|Myrtle Av, Vanderbilt & Clinton Avenues
|Edgecombe Av. & W. 155 St.
|Myrtle Av, either side of Woodhaven Blvd, both directions
|Cedar Grove Ave, Topping St & Garibaldi Ave
Bus stops that are spaced too closely hinder the ability of New York City’s buses to transport over two million riders each day. Consolidating and rebalancing bus stops is an efficient and effective way for the MTA improve local bus service citywide. While the MTA focuses on stop spacing in its ongoing Bus Network Redesign, New York City’s DOT has a large role to play in improving conditions at and around bus stops to ensure that all riders can reach bus stops without encountering barriers to access.
“Our analysis of the city’s closest bus stops not only shows that there are too many stops within a block or less of one another; it shows that the overall trend of bus stops is that they’re too close together, slowing bus speeds for everyone,” said Nick Sifuentes, Executive Director for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “The logic behind balancing bus stop spacing is simple: the more time a bus spends at stops, the less time it spends getting people where they need to be. With the MTA in the middle of redesigning the bus network, we have a real chance to fix our bus stops–not just by spacing them appropriately, but by improving the stops themselves with benches and shelters and full accessibility. If the MTA does its job right, 2019 could be the only year we’ll be issuing Cozy Awards at all.”
“New York City’s buses are the slowest in America, in part because they spend a quarter of their trip time stuck at bus stops along their route,” said Jaqi Cohen, Straphangers Campaign Director. “As New York City’s bus network undergoes its first transformation in almost half a century, we hope to see the MTA use this opportunity to consolidate bus stops that are so close together they are practically redundant. Additionally, we are counting on the City’s DOT to improve existing conditions at bus stops and make them fully accessible.”
Mary Buchanan, Research Associate at TransitCenter, said, “In a city that never stops moving, why should our buses stop all the time? New York City bus riders deserve fast, reliable service. Rebalancing overly-cozy bus stops is an effective way to keep buses moving.”
Gustavo Febles, B54 bus rider and member of the Straphangers Campaign said, “I have to travel down Myrtle Avenue for work, but the bus is simply too unreliable and slow to keep taking. I can’t explain how frustrating it is when the bus keeps making me late to work, even when I leave extra early to get there. In the warm months I have opted to bike instead of taking the bus, which takes about half the time, but in the colder months I will be forced to subject myself to long waits in the freezing cold for undependable service.”
The New York Public Interest Research Group Fund (NYPIRG) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, research and public education organization. NYPIRG was founded in 1976 as an independent 501(c)(3) public outreach and education sister organization to the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Over the decades, we have educated hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and recruited tens of thousands of community-based members from all parts of the state, enhancing NYPIRG’s institutional impact and helping to bring the voices of average New Yorkers to public policy debates.
NYPIRG’s full-time staff examines important issues, produces studies, and engages New Yorkers in public education campaigns designed to produce policies that strengthen democracy, enhance the rights of consumers and voters, and protect the environment and public health.
About NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign
The Straphangers Campaign was founded by the New York Public Interest Research Group at a critical time for New York City transit. By the late 1970s, the City’s subways had become unreliable and decrepit. Graffiti covered every car and station. Transit fires and derailments hit record levels. Crime steadily worsened. Ridership plummeted to the lowest level in 80 years. Businesses cited poor transit as a leading reason for moving out of New York. The system had become a symbol of the decline of the City itself.
There has been great progress since then. Today, trains are 20 times more reliable. Ridership has bounced back. Transit crimes, fires, derailments — all have been greatly reduced in the last two decades. In 1997, the transit system started offering free transfers between subways and buses. In 1998, riders received the first fare decrease in the history of the system in the form of unlimited-ride transit passes. As a result, ridership has soared. In 2016, ridership broke records set in the late 1940s.
These improvements didn’t happen by accident. The Straphangers Campaign played a leading role in building a consensus for scores of billions of dollars in new investments in metropolitan transit—through our rider organizing, coalition building, research, reports, and media savvy. Although the fight for better transit is far from over and much more remains to be done, the Campaign is proud of our role in turning around New York City’s transit for the better.