MTA rolls out fix to "jerky" hybrid buses
MTA buses have been doing the jerk.
Acceleration on the new hybrid buses have made for a rocky ride and caused some passengers to fall in the last year, NYC Transit officials said Monday.
“You get scared of getting flung to the front,” said Beverly Dawkins, 63, a frequent hybrid bus rider in Manhattan. “You felt stable on the old buses. Now you have to hold on with both hands.”
The rate of customers claiming injuries on buses rose by 13 percent from July 2008 to July 2009, which officials partially attributed to the jerking hybrids. The hybrids, which have been in service for more than a year, account for about a fourth of the MTA’s total fleet of 6,250 and are scattered throughout the agency’s bus lines.
“If someone was unsteady on their feet, it could become an issue,” said Joe Smith, Senior Vice President for buses.
The hybrids work like an electric golf cart, where stepping on the gas after a complete stop can cause them to lurch into action.
“The acceleration is very fast. I’ve seen people almost trip,” said Vaughn Brooks, a Bronx bus driver.
This month, transit finished outfitting all of its hybrids with a fix for the defect that will smooth the acceleration and make the ride similar to older bus models, Smith said. MTA officials said they expect the patch will bring down the rate of customer injuries.
Phoebe Kingsak contributed to this story.
An M16 Clean Air Hybrid Electric Bus bus makes it way east on 34th Street in Manhattan. (Photo by RJ Mickelson/amNY)
The MTA doesn’t expect it will hike fares to cope with a potential $115 million state budget cut, agency officials said Monday. The MTA is likely to postpone employee pension contribution to absorb the cuts that may come down later this year.