By Mark Hallum
The Riders Alliance is introducing a unique method to call upon the MTA to implement all-door boarding on buses to reduce confusion and wait times.
Members of the transit advocacy group stood in front of the state agency’s headquarters and delivered a skit illustrating the experience of boarding buses which only board up front.
The Feb. 22 rally followed freshly appointed New York City Transit head Andy Byford announcing a comprehensive plan was in the pipeline for April to improve bus service across the city.
“We know all-door boarding can speed up bus trips by cutting down on the amount of time buses spend at stops — sometimes by as much as 50 percent. All-door boarding should be one of the cornerstones of the bus action plan the MTA is putting together,” Executive Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign Nick Sifuentes said.
Video from the Riders Alliance showed demonstrators miming the body language of straphangers forced to enter a bus through a single door with crossed arms and rolling eyes.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in October that Select Bus Service, a program run by the city DOT and New York City Transit, would expand by 21 lines across the city, with nine of them coming to Queens. SBS has proven to be a popular option for the speed of service, attributed to less time spent at stops and buses that board through two doors.
Select Bus routes M15, Bx12, and B44 have seen an 40 percent reduction in dwell time at stops with all-door boarding, the Riders Alliance said.
“For bus riders, boarding is one of the most stressful parts of taking the bus, and all-door boarding can change that,” Stephanie Burgos-Veras, Senior Organizer with the Riders Alliance, said. “This is a crucial opportunity for President Andy Byford to include all-door boarding city-wide in his bus action plan. Riders have suffered for too long, and now is the time to turn around our buses.”
Riders Alliance member Latchmi Gopal said all-door boarding for outerborough residents who do not benefit from rail service is critical.
“Buses play an important role in the outer boroughs like the Bronx where I grew up. Growing up, I never took trains to get between neighborhoods. Buses are essential to getting to doctor’s appointments, buying spices from the only Guyanese market, and traveling to and from extracurricular activities,” Gopal said. “My parents continue to rely on buses to get to work or run any errands outside of The Bronx. When bus riders can enter through multiple doors buses are more efficient. It is only fair to us bus riders to have an equitable commute!”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall