Queens Bus Redesign

New York City Transit has just released its draft redesign for the Queens bus network. It’s a further-reaching reform than what was planned for the Bronx. I’m still seriously skeptical about a number of aspects, but this redesign is genuinely a step forward. The required changes are for the most part tweaks, with just one big change in concept.

What’s in the redesign?

The redesign goes over the local and express bus routes in Queens. I am not going to look at the changes to the express buses, which are not an important part of the network anyway; Queens has a total of 674,000 local bus passengers per weekday and only 15,000 express passengers.

The changes to the local buses include a from-scratch redesign of the network; four new color-coded brands for the local buses; stop consolidation depending on color coding, of which the tightest spacing proposed is 400 meters; and a list of priority corridors where buses are to get dedicated lanes. The scope is only the Queens buses, but there are some new Brooklyn connections: the Metropolitan and Flushing Avenue routes (the new QT3, QT4) keep running through, as they do today, but the Myrtle Avenue route, the current Q55 and new QT55, stops at Ridgewood with a forced transfer to the Brooklyn Myrtle Avenue route.

The four color-coded brands are an unusual, though not unheard of, system. There are four distinct brands among the redesigned Queens buses: blue, red, purple, green. Blue is essentially select bus service, retaining the long stop spacing (“over a mile”), potentially intersecting some bus routes without a transfer; the point is to connect high-demand areas like Flushing with Jamaica. The other three are for various regular local routes. Red routes are distinguished exclusively in having slightly wider stop spacing, 660 meters versus 450 for purple and 400 for green, but otherwise look similar on the network map. Purple and green routes are distinguished in that purple routes are branded for neighborhoods far from the subway and intended to get people from outlying points to subway stations.

What’s good about it?

Stop consolidation is important and I’m glad to see it get play in New York. The choice of interstation across the non-blue routes is solid and close enough to the theoretical optimum that the exact value should depend on ensuring every intersection has an interchange rather than on squeezing a few extra seconds of door-to-door trip time for non-transfer passengers.

The same goes for the decision to designate 21 corridors as top priorities for dedicated bus lanes. The plan does not promise bus lanes on all of them, since the ultimate decision is in the hands of NYCDOT and not the state-owned MTA/NYCT. But it does the best it can, by putting the proposal front and center and announcing that these corridors should be studied as candidates for bus priority. Most of the important streets in Queens are on the list; the only glaring omissions are Union Turnpike, Myrtle, and Metropolitan.

The above two points are not strictly about the redesign. This is fine. When Eric Goldwyn and I tried estimating the benefits of our Brooklyn bus redesign plan, we found that, taking speed, access time, and frequency into account, the redesign itself only contributed 30% of the overall improvement. Stop consolidation and bus lanes contributed 30% each, and off-board fare collection 10%. The Queens plan at the very least has stop consolidation, off-board fare collection as planned when the OMNY smartcard is fully rolled out, and partial use of bus lanes.

But the bus network as redesigned has notable positive features as well. There’s greater reliance on the full network, for one. The JFK AirTrain is free for passengers boarding at Lefferts Avenue or Federal Circle rather than at the subway connection points at Jamaica and Howard Beach, and so the Lefferts Avenue route to JFK, the current Q10 and future QT14, stops at the AirTrain station instead of going all the way to the terminals.

Elsewhere, the bus network is more regular, with fewer bends. The network does not assume away the borough’s important nodes: you can still figure out where Flushing and Jamaica are purely from looking at the map. But it does offer some routes that bypass these nodes for crosstown traffic, for example the redesigned QT65, straightening the current Q65.

What’s bad about it?

The four-color system is just bad. The blue routes are understandable but still bad: they split frequency, so that passengers living next to the local stations on shared routes like Main Street get poor service. The red-purple-green distinction is superfluous – the map really does not make it clear how a red route differs from the others, and the purple and green routes are really the same kind of local bus, just one with a distinguished node at a subway stop and one where there may be multiple distinguished nodes.

The frequencies offered are also weak. Some routes are proposed to run every 8 minutes all day, namely QT route numbers 6, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 32, 52, 55, 58, 66, 69, 70. Exactly one is proposed to run more frequently, the QT44 every 5 minutes. The rest run every 10-12 minutes or worse. On weekends, even the 8-minute routes drop to 10-15 minutes. Many routes are quite peaky and there’s no easy distinction between routes for which the report proposes an all-day headway (including all the 8-minute ones above) and ones for which the report proposes separate peak and base headways; the purple routes in general look somewhat peakier than the others, but it’s not a consistent distinction.

If the frequencies are weak, then it means that either the buses are too slow, or there are too many route-km to split a fixed service-hours budget across. NYCT mistakenly thinks that bus costs scale with service-km rather than service-hours, so the planned speedups can in fact be spent on more frequency, but it’s not enough to create a vigorous frequent network. Some pruning is needed; overall the network seems very dense to me, even in areas with decent subway coverage.

A few individual routes are weak too – I don’t think the QT1 idea, paralleling the Astoria Line on 21st Street and then the G train to Downtown Brooklyn, is a good idea. There are two more north-south routes running through to Williamsburg, where the relevant buses are pretty weak and pruning is advisable in order to redeploy service-hours to areas with more demand. If there’s somehow money that can only be spent on north-south service through Williamsburg, it’s better to increase frequency on the G train, which is faster than any bus could ever be.

Is this redesign valuable, then?

Yes! Between the stop consolidation, partial installation of bus lanes, and some of the aspects of the new network, the proposal looks like a two-thirds measure, at worst. It can’t be a full measure because there are serious drawbacks to the plan, not just on the level of details (i.e. too much service to Williamsburg) but also on the conceptual level of the four distinct brands. But it is a noticeable improvement over the current system, and I expect that if it is implemented, even with its many current flaws, then Queens will see a serious increase in bus patronage.

Moreover, the flaws in the plan are not inherent to it. If someone showed me the bus map without the color coding, just with stops and frequencies, I would not even notice the red-green-purple distinction. The blue routes I would notice, and suggest be reduced to the usual stop spacing of everything else; but the others, I wouldn’t. So even the most fundamentally bad part of the plan can be jettisoned while retaining all the good. Everything else is a tweak, and I expect that tweaks will happen one way or another.

Right now comes the community meetings stage, in which existing riders who have too much time will yell, and potential riders who don’t currently take the bus because it’s too slow don’t show up at all. The plan will be tweaked, and the tweaks may well make it worse rather than better. But what good transit activists in New York say matters, and so far the reaction should be positive, demanding certain changes but keeping the gist of the redesign.

46 comments

  1. rossbleakney

    Yeah, I don’t like the stop spacing idea. It seems rather arbitrary. Generally speaking, stop spacing should be done on a stop by stop basis, not a full route, especially if there is only one bus on that route. I can see the value of an express overlay (the blue lines) but that is it. Even then, for the reasons you mentioned, there are probably too many. You hurt overall frequency when you do that, even if a handful of riders get a faster trip. It is problematic for a few reasons. An express bus may be backed up behind a regular bus if there is only one bus lane, and heavy traffic. You also have a tougher time managing frequency — you don’t really get the full benefit of combining service.

    In general it seems like a bit too much overlap, and the different colors seems to hide that. Different corridors have both a red and a blue line — suggesting that you are adding value, when you simply have overlapping lines. Overlapping has its place — it can increase frequency — but that is difficult if not impossible to pull off if one bus makes a lot more stops.

    For example, look at the buses that start at the Myrtle-Wykoff subway stop (https://goo.gl/maps/xEMZSw8MirFBRXR47). This is on the lower left part of the map. You have the red 58 and the blue 6 (along with two green lines that I’ll ignore for now). The blue and red lines follow the same course, up to Elmhurst, like so: https://goo.gl/maps/dmzbQZjT31Kk4c9WA. The first thing that strikes me is that this is a time consuming trip. It takes about 30 minutes without traffic, not counting stops. At that point, the two buses split. The 6 heads up to Flushing (https://goo.gl/maps/fEs8MxyfCN6kvLKM6) while the 58 wiggles its way through Corona (https://goo.gl/maps/qR3a6iHXeBhFRkVC6). Both take about the same amount of time (again, not counting traffic or stops).

    In general, that seems like a lot of redundancy. What if instead the northern part of the 6 took over the northern part of the 60 (from Elmhurst). Then the southern part of the 60 could take over the 63. That saves a lot of service hours that can then be put back into system.

    The big drawback is that this hurts through-routers — which is the whole point of the 6 being blue. It is meant to connect the two ends, which is why it has big stop spacing. But it takes so long to connect the neighborhoods — it just seems like it is trying to do too much. If you want an express between the two areas, then make a faster express. For that matter, it isn’t clear why it is ending at Myrtle-Wykoff (layover space perhaps?). An alternative to the above proposal would be to combine the northern part of the 6 with the southern part of the 4. That is a much straighter shot (more appropriate for a limited stop express — https://goo.gl/maps/e1hd1e1NXpfBFT1m6). At that point, you really don’t need the 4. The 78 does much the same thing. At most you would extend the 78 to Myrtle-Wykoff. The more I look at it, the more it seems like there are lots of little tweaks that could be done to make this more efficient. It is really tough to do that based on public input. People want to avoid transfers, not add them. This does seem like a step in the right direction, but not as big as is possible.

    • Henry

      Which particular bus are you talking about?

      In general, traversing through Jamaica takes forever; for example, the Q43’s relatively straightforward route in Jamaica (Hillside > Sutphin) often took 20-30 minutes on its own, in personal experience. So they’ve probably cut a lot of service hours relegating buses to the edge of Jamaica, though I think cutting back to 165th is unwise given that the (E) doesn’t go that far out.

  2. rossbleakney

    Slightly off topic: Has there been any discussion of extending the M (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMT_Myrtle_Avenue_Line)? There is a railroad line at the terminus, which I believe is used only for freight (https://goo.gl/maps/ZvM1nHsKaYxXecwC9). It seems like it would be relatively cheap to just extend the subway line north. Even an awkward transfer involving a short walk (https://goo.gl/maps/SPp4Y39CVwyQyAEE7) would shave a half hour off of trips like this: https://goo.gl/maps/Znjy85E8zrnM1SYh8 or this: https://goo.gl/maps/vwwnpYwFBbWK9nfT7. You would still want frequent bus service in the area, but that substantially reduces the need for express service, that is likely to still over an hour. This is the route connecting the two areas: https://goo.gl/maps/6zWeoavsrfACEB6w9. It takes 45 minutes without any stops and without any traffic. By my estimation, that trip would take around a half hour if the M was extended, and that includes the extra 3 minute walk.

      • rossbleakney

        Thanks for the link and sorry for the thread drift. Either approach would be a huge improvement in mobility for relatively little money. The estimate of 100,000 daily riders seems very conservative, given the dramatic times savings for so many trips (due to all the connections) and the high density regions it would serve.

        I brought it up because of the impact it would have on the bus system. It is clear that while New York has a pretty good subway system, it has some big holes, and this is one of them that could be plugged for relatively little money. It just takes too long to “go around” on the train. The buses are then forced to do two things at once, and up doing them poorly. You want an express from Flushing to Myrtle-Wyckoff. OK, sounds good. But you also want to serve Elmhurst along the way — a worthy destination with good connecting service. You want it to be fast, so you have stop spacing of “over a mile”(!). Fair enough, it is an express. Except it isn’t really an express. If I use the expressway between the two locations, it takes about a half hour (with usual traffic — https://goo.gl/maps/RQytvk2y9UJXebkCA). So this “express” would cost me roughly twice as long, even as it manages to drive by thousands of potential bus riders along the way — all because it is serving one destination between the two points (Elmhurst). You could abandon Elmhurst, of course, and just run expresses between the two locations, but you end up watering down the system even more. As you wrote, the frequencies are fairly weak. You don’t help them at all by shifting service to longer distance trips — trips that are only common because of the weakness of the overall rail network.

        There are long distance corridors, like Woodhaven (https://goo.gl/maps/djSPYrduqYD2yLDx8) and Main (https://goo.gl/maps/MKXDYAnJAYgEmcX4A) that can be served quite well with a limited stop express and a regular bus. With bus lanes (some of which already exist) signal priority (which may not be a huge issue, since they are both major thoroughfares) and the lack of turns, a bus should be able to navigate there quite quickly. Go with off board payment and maybe you don’t even need two buses. One bus, making all the stops, can compete well with driving (especially if the bus is very frequent). But some of the “expresses” spend too much time wiggling back and forth. Adding service along the freight rail line would not eliminate the need for longer distance connecting buses, but it would eliminate a lot of them — especially the wiggly ones. The bus network for Queens would change dramatically, for the better.

    • Alon Levy

      Lol at “slightly.”

      But the answer is yes – Threestationsq in comments here keeps arguing against building Triboro RX as a single circumferential and in favor of instead extending the L from Canarsie west and the M from Metropolitan north-northwest.

      • Eric

        It all comes down to construction costs, I think. If extending the L and M costs much more, TriboroRX is preferable. Otherwise, extending the L and M is preferable. In practice, TriboroRX is probably much cheaper due to the ability to use existing freight tracks.

        • Alon Levy

          The idea is to extend the L and M over freight tracks and kicking out the 1-2 freight trains per day, reserving the segment with more freight (Hell Gate Bridge) to regional rail. There shouldn’t be a cost difference in the common segment, roughly from QB southward.

          • Eric

            I thought that kicking out the freight trains was politically difficult, so TriboroRX was going to let them run at night, which wouldn’t be practical with the subway and the bureaucracies surrounding it?

          • adirondacker12800

            But people on Long Island have nasty habits, eating being one of them, that have to be catered to. Someday it’s going to be one or two freights an hour. Digging up the whole thing to make it four tracks and hanging two more across the Hells Gate bridge, gets expensive. The alternative is double decking the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn Queens-Gowanus Expressways, which wouldn’t be cheap. With more bridge to New Jersey. Or having people move to Ohio.

          • rossbleakney

            It looks to me like the northern section (across the Hell Gate Bridge) is the weakest section. To be clear, it would add some very good new stations (throw a dart at a map of New York and you are bound to do that). But in terms of connections, it doesn’t seem as good. The train would largely run parallel to the other routes, while only coming close to the 6. It would add some value, but only a small fraction of the people in the Bronx could easily connect to it.

            In contrast, it would run largely perpendicular to lines in Queens and Brooklyn. It would run north-south where the trains are running east-west and vice-versa. This greatly speeds up a lot more trips as a result.

          • adirondacker12800

            All the people who are already there like to eat. Drink beer, use toilet paper, ship their garbage to Indiana etc. It get expensive to do that by truck if everything is gridlocked all the way out to I-287.

          • Henry

            Hell Gate also doesn’t make much sense since the most important stop in Queens west of Jackson Heights, Astoria, was found to be extremely challenging and expensive to build.

  3. Erich Rastetter

    Look again at the purple routes.

    In response to ” The red-purple-green distinction is superfluous – the map really does not make it clear how a red route differs from the others, and the purple and green routes are really the same kind of local bus, just one with a distinguished node at a subway stop and one where there may be multiple distinguished nodes.”

    This is hardly the case after going through the details of each route in the 434 page plan. You are correct that blue is akin to SBS. I would add that red is akin to LTD (see the Q100 LTD removed, with the QT69 “red” making the same stops), while Green is local. While these concepts are nothing new, it is the purple routes, that are the most interesting and perhaps the single most outstanding piece of the entire plan. Having grown up in eastern Queens, where a majority of these proposed routes would exist, you realize these essentially become limited buses in the last miles to a hub, in some cases (eg QT51), half the length of the route.

    This is something new, albeit perhaps not clear from the map, but an extremely significant detail in the plan. In each case, these are accompanied by significant local and “sbs” (red/blue/green) changes (not tweaks). In every case I looked at where the skipped segments only appear to be a short hop, it is in the most congested part of the route where there are local redundancies. I think calling the colors “bad” or “superfluous” makes some glaring oversights; it appears this was actually thought through (much to my surprise, I might add). The effort to reconcile this is at least very commendable in trying to address a problem unique to the areas stretching from Bayside to Rochdale and east (Little Neck, Bellerose, etc), where people living in NYC use the Long Island Rail Road to get to work — this is the “purple zone”, if you will.

    I would also add that while I agree the color system is unusual, so is Queens, in that it is the only place in the country where several towns connected by unorganized farm roads gained 2 million people in 100 years, so it deserves a unique solution over a cookie cutter system. This might not be perfect, but I give the folks who came up with the colors credit for their efforts in making a distinction that will benefit those harder to reach areas.

    • Alon Levy

      Wait, why is this history of Queens unique? That’s how every place that urbanized in the early 20th century is set up. Many such places have a similar history around preexisting towns, like Oakland and Berkeley, or for that matter Berlin.

      Far more relevant is that the buses in Eastern Queens are mostly used as subway feeders. However, that is not unique to Queens either – just about any city with a vigorous rail system uses its buses as rail feeders. The practice of splitting a route between an inner and an outer segment is bad and offers minor speedup in the outer area at the expense of frequency.

      • Henry

        > The practice of splitting a route between an inner and an outer segment is bad and offers minor speedup in the outer area at the expense of frequency.

        What would you say would be a reasonable cutoff for this type of thing, then? Today’s Q43 has a runtime of 35 minutes between Jamaica-179 and 268 St at the county line. The N22 has a runtime of 15 minutes from Jamaica-179 to Cherry Lane just over the county line, due to closed-door bus service. It’d be totally unreasonable to run even European-spaced routes all the way from Jamaica to Hicksville, right?

        • Alon Levy

          Of course it would be unreasonable, the LIRR provides fast service between Jamaica and Hicksville and only an apartheid transit network like New York’s would charge different fares for it.

          That said, if the Q43 does Jamaica-city line in 35 minutes, and the N22 does it in 15, then what’s the argument against consolidating them into one route with 500 meter interstations doing the trip in around 24 minutes?

          • Henry

            The Hillside Avenue/Route 25B corridor is far from the Main Line (over a mile in some places), and rail-bus-rail would be a lot less convenient than a route straight down the arterial. It also doesn’t help that the street network around the railway lines is very knotted and slow, which punishes rail-bus connections. And the rail doesn’t stop often enough and misses some north-south bus connections as a result, so you’d always need some level of bus service running the length of the corridor; maybe not all the way but certainly a lot of the way.

            Today, they serve radically different markets; the Q43’s easternmost stop is west of the N22’s first full-service stop in Nassau (though this will change after the redesign). Assuming you’d merge the N22 west of Mineola with the Q43, it currently takes an additional 25 minutes to get to Mineola. So making the N22 add 9 minutes to the journey would be an almost 23% increase in journey times for passengers from Mineola. The N22 also currently runs much lower frequency than the Q43; to extend all Q43 buses would require lengthening the Q43’s runtime by 14 minutes, a 40% increase. So the local jurisdictions have to decide either to

            – extend all buses and maintain the combined frequency, massively increasing service hours spent in the N22 corridor, or
            – add stops to current N22 runs to make parity with the Q43, which still requires increasing service hours, or
            – add stops but don’t increase service hours, reducing frequencies for N22 riders between Mineola and the county line
            – extend all buses but keep the same amount of service hours, increasing overall crowding and lowering frequencies on the route since the N22 runs less buses per hour than the Q43.

            None of these are really attractive choices.

          • Alon Levy

            These aren’t rail-bus-rail connections… they’re rail-bus connections, because under integrated fares, passengers from farther west of Jamaica would be able to take the LIRR through Jamaica to Mineola, possibly changing trains at Jamaica cross-platform with a timed connection. Moreover, if the train frequency is worse than every 10 or so minutes then the buses at the other end can be timed with the train too.

          • Henry

            I mean to say bus-rail-bus connections, for either staying on Hillside/25B entirely, or for switching to north-south buses.

      • Erich Rastetter

        I think you need to elaborate on why it is “bad” to split the routes as such. The towns of Flushing and Jamaica became major hubs while the farms between became in-filled and the region became absorbed into the Manhattan-centric consolidated NYC with a population that does not compare elsewhere in the United States. It’s moot to argue how unique this is or isn’t; it distracts from the point. The feeders into the hub areas (Flushing, Jamaica, Kew Gardens) where there are lots of connections would be a) new (or at least greatly expanded) for Queens, and b) probably result in buses being full at the point at which they begin the last miles “limited stop” runs where local “hub centric” routes co-exist. I agree that the apartheid pricing system is part of the problem, we don’t have a circumstance to resolve that here. And so a 9 minute savings by not stopping a bus that is full seems reasonable to me.

        • Alon Levy

          The off-peak frequencies are so bad that saving a few minutes by running express doesn’t actually save time counting wait time.

          • rossbleakney

            Which is a good rule of thumb for any express. Is the regular bus so crowded that you need to run it every couple minutes? If so, then an express overlay is great. Since you have to add more buses to deal with the crowds, you might as well add an express. Not only do you save some riders a lot of time, but you actually save money (since an express is less costly to operate). But if not — if either the express or the local runs infrequently — then forget about it.

          • rossbleakney

            (I should have mentioned that in a lot of corridors, the only time it makes sense to run an express is during rush hour).

  4. Onux

    Regarding overlay routes of rapid busses, which you criticize for splitting frequency, what is your opinion of the B-Line bus routes in Vancouver (99, 98, etc.)? They appear to be very successful in serving busy corridors while serving as a template for future SkyTrain extensions.

    More generically, when I’ve looked at boarding data for SF Muni I’ve noticed it is not at all even, a few stops have the majority of boardings while many others have low boardings. Is it so bad to frequency split and avoid extra service to a stop with 150 daily riders, if in exchange a stop with 2000 riders gets more service and a faster ride?

    • Alon Levy

      Yes, the frequency split is still bad. The reason is that you’re not just screwing the low-ridership stops – the high-ridership stops don’t get consistent service between the two service types, so in practice they get the frequency of the more frequent of the two patterns.

      The B-Lines in Vancouver are nothing to write home about except the 99. The 99 is a unique case in that it fills buses at very high frequency by itself, and the 9 has high peak and okay-ish off-peak frequency. Even the 44/84 system works okay in that the combined trunk runs every 12 minutes but, for reasons that are not reproducible outside the east-west arterials of the West Side of Vancouver, runs on a clockface schedule.

      A lot of this boils down to the stop innovating and start imitating principle I tell Americans about re construction costs. American bus networks suck. Canadian ones are better, but that boils down to how they feed rail and how the bigger ones run every 8 minutes off-peak, not 15. Once you get out of North America, you rarely see 200-meter interstations on buses. You see a range of 300-600. Nor do you see much creative local/express combos; it won’t surprise me if there are more such combos in Brooklyn alone than in all non-North American cities I’ve lived in (Tel Aviv, Singapore, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, and let’s even throw in the Riviera) combined.

      • Onux

        What is your opinion of Barcelona in this regard? Your mentioned Nova Xarxa favorably in your CityLab article about Brooklyn bus redesign, but looking at the official map it appears that most NX routes overlay with local lines for at least part of their route.
        Is it okay to overlay local lines if those locals don’t parallel the entire rapid route but take a transfer free path somewhere else? Is it just that the NX frequency is so high there is no frequency split with the locals?

        • Alon Levy

          The local lines are local in the sense of being radial; it’s not buses with two different patterns running together, I don’t think. And the reason for the overlay is that Nova Xarxa was implemented piecemeal to avoid breaking too many things at once, so a lot of buses stayed on the old, less frequent (=every 12-15 minutes, not 3-8) network.

          • Mikel

            Also, many of them are feeders wich connect neighborhoods that are too hilly or disconnected from the urban grid to the metro network (without regard to Nova Xarxa, for the moment). The rest will keep being slowly pruned or eliminated, especially after:
            1) The tram line along Avinguda Diagonal is built, connecting the eastern and western tram networks,
            2) The central section of L9/L10 is opened,
            3) The complete overhaul of the fare structure (with fares integrated between Bus-Tram-Metro-Rodalies and usage-based discounts) is implemented along with the T-Mobilitat smartcard,
            but all three have been delayed so many times that the old radial buses will still be around for quite some time.

            However, Barcelona does have overlapping locals and expresses in the buses connecting the city with the inner suburbs.

  5. Henry

    I think what promising things exist in the redesign plan are balanced out by many more negatives. I will speak about the Queens bus network east of the Van Wyck, since those were the routes I personally used, and what I think about it.

    – A lot of the new routes are weird slices, dices, and recombinations of existing routes. For example, the QT14 is a combination of the Q10 and the Q64, connecting the two via Queens Blvd between Forest Hills and Kew Gardens. It’s not the only route that’s been recombined like this, and it’s not the only one where the connecting segment directly parallels the subway. If they want to reduce redundancy, why bother running these strange combinations of routes at all and partially duplicate subway service?
    – I can understand why they have the blue “run to a certain point and express it to a subway” and the red local routes, but it definitely goes way too far. For example, the QT32, in its haste to avoid being swamped by riders coming from St. John’s University, also misses connections on 164th and Utopia. It would be better, if they were going to have those types of routes, to have closed-door service (drop-off only towards subway, pick-up only away from subway) similar to the Nassau County buses operating within Queens.
    – The thing that is particularly worrying to me is that peak-of-peak frequency is not specified. Some of the pre-redesign routes are running every 2, 3, 5 minutes during the peak-of-peak, because Eastern Queens ridership demand is highly peak-oriented towards the subway (and by extension, the “city”) but otherwise a moderately busy off-peak network. Peak-of-peak buses are often full as it is, so if they reduce frequencies during that time it would probably tank ridership in the name of cost savings.

  6. James s

    Curitiba uses a similar color system, with 6 or 7 color designations. The busses match the color of the route. I thought it was helpful in understanding the system

  7. Giselle

    I’m trying to find the bus stops for the new QT1 route in Brooklyn. I can only see the Queens stops listed. Anyone know where to find this information please?

  8. Allan Rosen

    The objective of any good plan is to help more people than you hurt. The way you measure if you are helping people is if their trips can be made in less time. You don’t only consider the time spent on the bus and the speed of the bus like the MTA is doing.

    The average local bus trip is only 2.3 mph and most riders are not willing to walk more than 1/4 mile to or from a bus stop. If they have to walk a half a half mile to get to the bus, a half mile from the bus and wait for the bus and a transfer all for a two-mile trip, they will walk, bike, skateboard, use a dollar van, cab or Uber. They will not take the bus. Eliminating bus stops that are only used by 50 riders a day, will not make the buses go any faster. Why inconvenience people when no one is going to benefit? It will just significantly increase travel time. The number of bus stops on a route do not matter. How many times the buses actually stop does matter.

    This plan will result in further declines in ridership, not more riders. The plan is a service cut disguised as a service improvement with reduced service spans and less frequent buses. Fewer service miles and hours equals less ridership. An investment in the better service equals higher ridership. It’s that simple.

    Why are there no established criteria to measure if the plan succeeds or fails? Its not difficult to increase average bus speeds by 1 or 2 mph, when you eliminate a third to half of the bus stops. That doesn’t indicate success. Why spend $200,000 for Select Bus Service with plans to spend another $200,000, then decimate the route you created, by shortening it at both ends reducing its attractiveness? Yet, that is what is being proposed. A few of the route changes are probably beneficial, but why do many more have to be inconvenienced in the process?

    This was what I wrote about the bus redesigns before the draft Queens report was issued.

    https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8989-is-the-mta-correctly-performing-its-bus-network-redesigns

    • Alon Levy

      Who are all those people who “prefer buses”?

      (Yes, the subway has accessibility problems, but the bus redesign is not about today’s accessible subway map but that of a few years from now. They’re slowly adding more elevators to stations.)

      • Martin Rz

        63rd drive Rego Park on the M and R line on Queens Boulevard and 69th street on the 7 line are not scheduled to get elevators, but will have bus lines go there.

  9. Pingback: The Winners And Losers in Queens Bus Network Redesign Draft – Streetsblog New York City
  10. Jerry Zachariah

    Great ideas (inspiration) are easy; implementation (perspiration) is difficult.

    This will succeed or fail on how they handle the changeover.

    • Henry

      Good intentions are easy, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
      This is at best an okay idea in its current form, and given how they managed the Staten Island Express changeover I don’t really expect the Queens one to remotely go well.

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