October 18, 2016
By Corey Bearak
The Public Ought To Know
Queens, NY – In part two of this four part series of The Public Ought To Know we explored changes to MTA policies that allows management decisions that take buses and bus operators out of service and better use of Select Bus Service (SBS) features.
In part one, we looked at some unique and valuable insights ATU members offers as mass transit professionals. Part three recommends a strategic look at public bus transit. City, Transit and elected officials need to come together with business and community leaders to explore greater use of buses.
Buses, new and existing, require fully-functioning depots, and in many cases terminals to facilitate commuter transfer between transit modes. The City needs to make sure progress continues on the MTA's Jamaica bus depot. The City really need to look at identifying a site for a full-scale bus terminal serving downtown Flushing before development makes it impractical. Flushing continues to have an ever increasing ridership as development increases there. Member of Congress Grace Meng proposed it in 2012. It may not be too late to incorporate it in the plans for the Flushing municipal lot, which may present the best location.
The recent focus by the so-called advocates, including the Riders Alliance, on buses helps change a conversation that gave greater priority to ferries, more rail and subways, light rail and, recently, a trolley; buses still offer the quickest, most cost effective and flexible means to get more people out of cars and help protect our environment.
The so-called NYC Bus Coalition report on improving bus service basically adopted recommendations advanced by MTA bus unions including in testimony and commentary.
The MTA, the city, the state and advocates need to look at funding for more new buses to support bus service changes, expansions, and enhancement. This goes beyond current schedules to replace existing buses.
This planning approach, whether it include borough task forces and/or DOT/MTA driven planning group(s), can bring the aforementioned players, the bus operator unions, the riding public, community groups and our elected leaders together and press for the fixes, and more importantly, improvements.
Next The Public Ought To Know: ATU strategic proposals for bus public transit.