New York City’s two slowest bus lines run at an average speed of 3.4 mph — slower than the standard rowboat.
That’s according to the Straphangers Campaign, which advocates for good, safe, and affordable public transportation in New York.
It just gave the M42 and M50 bus lines its “uncoveted” Pokey Award, which “rewards” the slowest bus lines, in the form of a golden snail on a pedestal.
The remarkably slow 3.4 mph rate wasn’t the result of rush hour traffic — it was recorded at noon on a weekday.
The Campaign gave its Schleppie Award, which “rewards” reliability, to M101/2/3 bus, calling it the least reliable in New York. That award comes in the form of two golden elephants. (The physical awards are posters of the golden animals; the Campaign has a limited budget.)
To determine the winners, Campaign staff and volunteers took trips on 34 lines they selected because they have high ridership or are historically slow. The M42 and M50 run crosstown, on 42nd and 50th streets, respectively. The M101/2/3 runs from Washington Heights to the East Village.
There is a silver lining to the news from the Straphangers Campaign, however: Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio promised during his campaign to expand and improve bus service, especially in the outer boroughs.
Although the mayor has no control over the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), de Blasio will have ways to make good on that promise, Campaign chief spokesperson Gene Russianoff told Business Insider.
First of all, de Blasio can choose a commissioner for the Department of Transportation who will work well with the MTA. The “long checkered history” of strained relations between the organisations improved during the tenure of Janette Sadik-Khan, the outgoing commissioner, Russianoff said. Transit groups are advocating for a choice who will continue that good relationship.
De Blasio can also direct City capital funds to bus service. The bottom line, Russianoff said, is that if the new mayor “wants this to move ahead … having a financial contribution from the City would make a big difference.”
In response to the awards, an MTA spokesperson said “We’re grateful the Straphangers continue to acknowledge improved service” on some routes. “We are continuing work with the New York City Department of Transportation to increase the number of bus lanes and locations where buses would have traffic signal priority.”
Here’s the Pokey award:
And the Schleppie:
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