Downtown Alliance launches new Connection buses

[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]
The Alliance for Downtown New York has rolled out seven new buses for its Connection service, which links Broadway near City Hall with the South Street Seaport. The new buses can seat 25 passengers.
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER  |  Most of the Downtown Alliance’s fleet of seven new Connection buses are now circling the streets of Lower Manhattan, transporting riders between the South Street Seaport and Broadway near City Hall. The white buses with boldly emblazoned “Connection” logos are the latest addition to the free shuttle service launched by the Alliance for Downtown New York in 2003.

The new buses have room for 25 passengers in facing rows of seats that will accommodate shopping bags and folded strollers. The buses open in the back for wheelchair access.

The buses are operated by On Top Tours of Red Hook and were designed and built to the Downtown Alliance’s specifications and in conformance with federal regulations.

Except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the buses run every 10 minutes, depending on traffic, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. At many of the 37 stops, L.E.D. signs tell when the next bus will arrive.

“We are always exploring opportunities to enhance this service,” said Jeff Simmons, a spokesman for the Downtown Alliance. “Unfortunately at several of our 37 bus locations the conditions don’t permit the installation of L.E.D. signs. There has to be a light pole in the immediate vicinity. But one thing we implemented was the ability for folks to use their Smartphones to access NextBus [to find out where the buses are in the route]. Also, we are exploring setting up WiFi in the near future on some buses.”

So far, the buses seem to be well received. “I love this free service,” said one rider. “I like the extra room for packages on the new buses.” But, of course, there’s always a little something that could be better. “I just wish the steps weren’t so steep,” she added. “When I have a cart full of groceries, it’s hard to get it up and down.”

Simmons said that if riders have comments or complaints about the service, they can call the phone number on the back of each bus or send an email to ContactUs@DowntownNY.com.