By Philip Newman
If your trip aboard the Q58 seems overly long, you are not imagining: It is one of the slowest trips in New York City.
It was slow enough to get prominent mention in the Straphangers Campaign’s annual slow bus awards, with the Q58 averaging only 7 miles an hour in its run through Queens between Ridgewood and Flushing-Main Street.
The transit advocacy agency also cited the Q85, which runs between Jamaica and Valley Stream in Nassau County. Straphangers said 21 percent of Q85 service was unreliable because of buses bunched together or leaving big gaps in bus arrival times.
The citywide winner — if it can be called that — of the Pokey designation was a tie between the M42 and M50, both Manhattan crosstown buses, which were clocked at an average speed of 3.4 mph.
The winner of the Schleppie is a three-way tie among the M101, M102 and M103, with more than 30 percent of the three lines arriving with big gaps in service or bunched together.
The three lines share what is called the “trunk routes” of Third and Lexington avenues in Manhattan.
Straphangers noted that an average wooden row boat can travel at 3.5 mph or more in still water without wind, compared to the average 3.4 mph speed for this year’s winners of the Pokey Award.
“Our advice to the M42 and M50: Don’t challenge a rowboat to race around the Central Park reservoir,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. “These crosstown buses are losers.”
On a more positive note, six faster bus routes, known as Select Bus Service, were opened during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration with a seventh due next spring. It will be the run from 125th Street in Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport.
“Thankfully, help is on its way,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a transit advocacy group. “Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has pledged to build a rapid network of buses with the goal of greatly improving transit in the boroughs outside Manhattan’s central business district.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.