Brooklyn Boro

Longer waits for buses along three Brooklyn lines

July 25, 2019 Mary Frost
Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan
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Come the fall, passengers on three Brooklyn bus routes will have longer waiting times between buses, and two of the lines will be more crowded, according to the July 2019 report issued by the MTA’s Transit and Bus Committee.

The MTA is cutting service along a number of bus routes, including the B54, B15 and B38 in Brooklyn.

Even bigger changes may be in store for bus riders, however.

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In a shakeup announced by the MTA board on Wednesday, the agency says it may consider separating the subway and bus business segments altogether, and consolidating the three city bus operations (NYCT Bus, MTA Bus and MABSTOA).

The MTA may “review elevating Bus to an independent operating agency phased over the long-term,” according to its MTA Transformation Plan, dated June 30, 2019.

One reason for this is that MTA’s bus operation “under-performs its peers,” the agency said. For example, MTA’s bus maintenance costs per mile are higher than similar bus operations. Separating the bus segment would allow management to focus on improving bus performance, reduce management layers and encourage specialization of skills.

Longer waits are definitely coming

Looking into the near future, however, the B54 line, which runs from Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn along Myrtle Avenue to Palmetto Street in Bushwick, will have up to three minutes longer waits at bus stops and more crowded buses, especially during the morning peak and during midday hours. Buses will go from 84 percent capacity to 94 percent during the morning rush, and from 66 to 83 percent midday.

Riders on the B15 bus, which goes from Flushing Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant to JFK Airport, will experience about a minute longer wait times during midday on weekdays, when buses will jump from 77 percent capacity to 93 percent.

The B38 route, which travels from Tillary Street in Downtown Brooklyn to Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood, will also have about a minute longer wait times at rush hour. But MTA says that B38 buses are being converted to the larger articulated buses, which will “significantly increase seat capacity” on these routes.

Craig Cipriano, acting president of MTA’s Bus Company, said in the report that the agency is making the changes to these routes and others across the city “in response to changes in ridership.”

He added that the bus service reductions would have “minimal impact for customers using the affected bus routes during weekday a.m. and p.m. peak travel periods.”

“We will closely monitor the service to ensure that the new schedules provide sufficient service to meet customer demand,” he assured customers.

The agency says it will also improve bus times by introducing automated mobile camera systems on three routes in Manhattan and Brooklyn to clear the way for buses.

About 71 percent of NYC customers arrive within five minutes of their scheduled arrival time, MTA said. In Brooklyn, that’s 69.4 percent. The city’s average bus speed is 7.9 mph. In Brooklyn, it’s 7 mph.

As a combined entity, the MTA’s bus operations would be the second largest transit provider in the MTA network.

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