Most New Yorkers have a grueling daily commute. Our travel times are among the nation's worst, averaging from 52 to 69 minutes on public transit. And riders in the outer boroughs face an especially harrowing ordeal.
Jammed trains, long rides and buses that can only inch their way through congealed traffic are all part of the deal.
But there's a plausible answer to the problem.
New Yorkers must hold Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to his campaign promise to expand Select Bus Service in the more densely populated parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
Run by the city's Department of Transportation and the MTA, Select Bus Service is supposed to work more like a subway train and less like a lumbering herd of mastodons.
Yet it has to be done right.
The idea is to have Select Buses run in dedicated lanes -- making fewer stops and requiring riders to pay their fares (the same as a regular bus ride) before they board.
The handful of Select lines in the city today -- on routes like 34th Street in Manhattan or Fordham Road in the Bronx -- run 15 to 20 percent faster than regular lines.
But it's hard to imagine that a mere 20 percent gain will make Select Bus Service a better option than a miserably stuffed, inhumanly noisy -- but very fast -- subway car.
To make Select Bus Service work, dedicated lanes must mean exactly that -- no car traffic, no parked delivery trucks. Cities in countries like Brazil and India have made the service work with bus lanes and enclosed stations that are separated from regular traffic.
That's not how New York is doing it.
De Blasio will need to push DOT and MTA hard for an expansion and upgrades. He also must win community support before his Select Bus plan can succeed.
Local pressure caused the city to cancel a planned Select Bus line along 125th Street in Harlem, where shopkeepers and shoppers were loath to forgo double-parking.
But everyone loses when mobility stalls. Companies lose productivity and commuters lose their quality of life.
De Blasio must get this program into the express lane.