Defining express bus 'service'


To the editor:

(re: “Bronx bus redesign is important,” Nov. 21)

I write in response to Andy Byford’s letter to The Riverdale Press concerning planned cuts in express bus service.

Mr. Byford’s arguments manage to be simultaneously old, tired and insulting. Those arguments remind me of the story of the man who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.

Mr. Byford argues that the express bus service is under-utilized, and therefore should be cut. I point out to Mr. Byford that his use of the term “service” is quite a stretch. As they say in the movie “The Princess Bride,” I do not think it means what you think it means.

In connection with a transportation system, I submit that “service” must be reliable and consistent. When such “service” is constantly unreliable, well, you are not providing the contracted service.

There have been too many times that I have been at the bus stop to take a scheduled bus and it never arrived. That is unreliable “service,” and that, sir, is not a way to promote customer confidence, or use.

I am compelled to point out that these cuts will not take place in a vacuum. At this time, alternative means of transportation are slowly being throttled out of existence.

Automobile traffic is being restricted with tolls, there is limited parking availability, resident parking permits are now being discussed, and priorities are given to bicycles. Subway service is nothing short of horrid, a rolling Willowbrook when it moves, and a frozen concentrate of people when it doesn’t.

It is express bus service that can provide convenience and efficient one-ride transportation to and from the center of the city’s economic engine, Manhattan, when it is properly funded and operated.

Indeed, conditions at this time call for more express bus service, not less.

Further, the buses themselves must be properly maintained and cleaned, or replaced by newer and more reliable equipment. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must allow its drivers to use apps such as Waze to see where traffic delays exist (how absurd that passengers have this information on their cell phones, and not the drivers!) and to take approved alternative routes.

Many of the areas currently served by express bus service would require multiple changes between buses and subways, with each change introducing the possibility of additional delays, failures and increased travel time as people struggle to get to their destinations.

The MTA’s plan does not manifest one iota of actual planning.

Instead, it was a pre-ordained conclusion in search of some supporting evidence which, if it didn’t exist, was created.

The MTA must carry out its mandated function to provide real “service,” and it must restore full service to its express bus routes.

Don Appel

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Don Appel,