Tightly spaced bus stops are ruining New Yorkers’ bus rides.
Advocates on Monday unveiled a new dubious distinction for MTA buses: the “Cozy Awards,” or Cozies, bestowed on the pairs of stops that are spaced more closely together than a typical Manhattan block, roughly 260 feet. The groups and the MTA agree that such cozily placed stops unnecessarily slow bus speeds and scramble wait times.
In all, 32 pairs of bus stops around the five boroughs are within 260 feet of one another — with a few that are roughly the length of four articulated buses parked back to back.
“There are plenty of cozy things that New Yorkers could enjoy on a cool fall day … bus stops should not be cozy,” said Jaqi Cohen, of the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, which studied city stops with other groups like Riders Alliance, Transit Center and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
“Frequent, closely spaced bus stops are a problem because they require buses to spend more of their trip time than necessary pulling in and out of bus stops and waiting for long queues of riders to board,” Cohen continued, “which slows them down and reduces their reliability.”
The coziest pair of bus stops in the city reside along the Bx26 in the Baychester section of the Bronx. Two stops on the route near the intersection of Gun Hill Road and Gunther and Allerton avenues stand just 207 feet apart.
Second billing for the Cozies belongs to the B54 in Brooklyn, where Clinton Hill stops Myrtle Avenue and Vanderbilt & Clinton avenues are 210 feet apart.
The most closely spaced stops in other boroughs belong to the M2 in Manhattan; the Q55 in Queens and the S76/86 on Staten Island.
The MTA’s own guidelines call for stops to be spaced at a minimum of 750 feet apart — which is much closer than the international standards of roughly 1,000 feet to 1,680 feet.
Still, the MTA estimates about half of it bus stops are more closely spaced than its own 750-foot minimum.
Advocates want stop spacing to be a key consideration as the MTA continues its borough-by-borough route redesigns to improve service, which has been completed along Staten Island express routes and is underway in the Bronx.
“The MTA needs to do a better job — both in the Bronx and in the other boroughs where the redesign is taking place,” said Nick Sifuentes, the executive director or the tristate Transportation Campaign.
Part of the problem is dealing with the politics of eliminating spaces. M-14 riders on Manhattan’s East Side waged war with the transit agency in an attempt stop eliminations as part of the MTA’s effort to speed up the route with a Select Bus Service overhaul.
The transit authority said it’s taking the issue into consideration as it continues its redesigns and said public feedback in the borough was generally open to fewer stops for better service. The MTA announced later Monday 10 new Brooklyn open houses for late october and November for the borough’s forthcoming route redesign.
“New York has closer bus stop spacing than most cities around the world, which together with congested city streets contribute to extremely slow bus speeds,” said Craig Cipriano, senior vice president for Buses at NYC Transit. “Our borough bus network redesigns are examining this issue so that we can reduce customer wait and trip times while still allowing convenient access to nearby stops.”