Straphangers name Q58 bus slowest in Queens

Straphangers name Q58 bus slowest in Queens
By Philip Newman

The Q58 bus may be the slowest in Queens, but it practically flies when compared to the winner of the Straphanger Campaign’s annual Pokey Award.

The transit advocacy agency said the slowest bus in New York City was the M42, which averages 3.6 miles an hour crossing Manhattan on 42nd Street , about as rapid transit as walking. The Q58, on the other hand, averages 6.6 mph on its runs between Ridgewood and Flushing-Main Street.

The M42 also captured the slowest award in 2009.

“Many city buses travel in excruciatingly slow motion,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. Russianoff said that for some routes, the pace is not much faster than a person walking, which averages about 3.6 mph.

The Straphangers also awarded its fifth-annual Schleppie designation for the city’s least reliable buses. That went to the Bx41 bus, which runs on White Plains Road and Webster Avenue between Wakefield and the Hub in the Bronx.

Nearly one in four Bx41 buses, or 23.5 percent, arrived bunched together or arrived with big gaps in service in the first half of 2010.

The Bx41 moves 27,383 riders on an average weekday and has the15th highest bus ridership in New York City.

Last year’s “winner” with worst reliability was the B44, which runs between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn.

The number of unreliable buses more than doubled citywide in the past year, the Straphangers reported.

But the Straphangers did have what they considered upbeat news about the new Bus Rapid Transit super express service in the Bronx.

“Select Bus Service” on the Bx12 runs nearly 25 percent faster than local buses, the Straphangers reported.

“The next generation of buses is making inroads in New York City — Select Bus Service can cut travel times for riders,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of the nonprofit Transportation Alternatives. “Where these fast buses have been tried in the Bronx, travel times dropped at least 20 percent.

“Similar improvements [Select Service] were recently installed on Manhattan’s East Side. Rather than Pokey and Scheppie buses, New York riders deserve quick and efficient bus service. We are encouraged by the city’s willingness to make New York’s buses work better.”

In Select Service buses, riders get tickets from machines at bus stops then board through any door and buses are equipped with transponders to prolong green traffic lights until the buses pass an intersection. Vehicles other than Select buses are barred from the bus lane.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.