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21.12.2014
THE COMMUTE: Last week, we used 2014 ridership data to determine how well the MTA’s Select Bus Service (SBS) routes were performing compared to local and limited routes.
However, in a constantly changing city you can’t just cut service all the time without exposing your true motives. Let’s first examine the average passengers per bus on the routes the MTA discontinued in 2010. The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. The MTA definitely does not start off with the premise that bus service should be profitable.
One of the things I was taught in Planning school is that it is preferable to have government run public transit over the private sector because they care about social need and social good whereas the private sector cares only about profit and nothing else.
Do you think those measures, and the ensuing improvements in bus service, would result in profitability, even if you were the Bus Czar at the MTA and could implement whatever measures you wanted?
No, those should not be the MTA’s sole goals (nor are they, I believe), but in a situation where funding is inadequate, minimizing losses may be necessary in order to preserve some semblance of normal service where it is most needed. Do you think that’s actually possible in real life in New York (attracting more passengers)?
No one is denying the need to minimize losses, but that shouldn’t be your only or primary goal.
You can make hard choices intelligently or unintelligently, Most of the MTA’s cutbacks in 2010 were of the unintelligent variety. Being pennywise and pound foolish by skimping on bus service improvements which affects potential revenue is not the way to improve efficiency.
Those last two sentences prove conclusively that you do not understand the difference between running a private business and running a government agency.
A key part of my 1978 plan was eliminating one of the three routes to Manhattan Beach so I do know how to cut. I also had Schedules change the run on and run off on the B49 when I was head of Planning to provide 11 extra daily trips at a lower cost, do increased efficiency is indeed possible. Today it is difficult to say without looking at the numbers, but generally I think Manhattan is overserved at certain times of the day. Those cutbacks were so harmful and there was so much outcry that the MTA was forced to make a few service restorations.
Or, to put it a different way, the MTA was happy to implement cost-neutral changes requested by local communities, and as the budget situation eased up, funding became available for restoration of some of the cut services as well as a handful of new services.
Or, to put it a different way, with the limited funding that became available over time, the MTA added service.
If this is your way of acknowledging that your metric isn’t terribly meaningful, I agree. It would be logical to assume that the new routes would obtain a higher average number of riders per bus than the discontinued routes to be considered successful.
And they view that goal by favoring subways over buses since it is much less labor intensive.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times those two agreed with me while I don’t have enough hair on my head to count how many times they disagreed.


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We determined that only two of the seven routes performed better than the borough averages. So to give the illusion the MTA wants to be responsive to changing needs, they established a few token bus route “shuttles” as well as a few route extensions without even fully integrating them into existing services.
We checked average weekday passengers in order to determine the average number of passengers per bus. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work. If so, could you explain the circumstances under which bus service can be profitable in New York City?
So the question you must ask yourself is should profit or minimalizing losses be the sole goal of the MTA? When you plan a route extension do you consider incremental costs or all costs such as sick time and pensions?
You look at such things as for which trips are riders relying on taxis and dollar vans and why. Hard choices have to be made, and based on your writings, I don’t think hard choices are your strong suit.
Even the airline industry barely breaks even as a whole, and sometimes they don’t even manage that. Someoe posted that the MTA will replace a thousand dollar part rather than use replace a 50 cent component. If I were still in charge of bus planning, I would be able to make those hard choices more intelligently than the MTA.
When I worked in the Central Electronic Shop, employees were always submitting suggestions how to improve the repair process. And if you were in charge of bus planning, you would be forced to realize that the MTA does not have the bottomless supply of money that you currently think it has. The interesting thing is no one protested my cut whereas anytime the MTA cuts, there are serious protests. Time coded fare payment or APC by routes, or together with bus time to get an estimate by stop? Is that only considering operating costs as the MTA does, or are you also considering revenue? By clicking Confirm bid you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder.
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In the past several years, the MTA created new routes or reinstituted ones that were discontinued in 2010.


Keep in mind that this does not tell us about bus crowding since not everyone is on the bus at once. More specifically, it certainly does not seem to be possible to make a profit carrying passengers locally on scheduled routes of any kind. Instead , whenever the MTA either changes them or violates them because they are more interested in the budget.
Don’t forget, when I eliminated a half mile of the B1 and completely changed it s route in 1978, there was only one single written complaint because it was an intelligent route elimination. If you pretend that there are no fiscal constraints, then of course you’ll come up with very different results.
During that period, the MTA was unable to restore the eliminated services, but it was able to implement cost-neutral changes that were requested by local communities. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Using the weekday average ridership for 2014 we can learn about the performance of these new routes. They would rather the dollar vans, cabs, and services such as Uber, operate all surface transportation.
If you recall prior to June 2010, the media focused entirely on the proposal to eliminate student half fares, not on the service reductions that only became news after they occurred.
If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at]sheepsheadbites [dot]com.
They simply are not willing or able to pay fares that will cover the costs of such a service. At the same time when the MTA combined the B36 and B74 on Mermaid Avenue, 500 people protested in the streets. If you wenntto Planning school, you woud realize that it takes time for people to alter their travel patterns.
Therefore, if you operate X minus Z service, you will lose Y dollars minus the amount it costs to provide Z service. The MTA knew that by proposing an unprecedented number of service cuts as well as a serious fare change, the public would not be able to focus on everything, and most of the service cuts would become reality.
It also is not an indicator of efficiency that would have to figure in other factors like pay hours. They do not consider poor service levels as a reason not to use the bus because they believe their riders ave no other choice over tan to take the bus so it didn’t matter patronage wise if the bus is scheduled to operate every 20 minutes or every 30 minutes. My B1 is not only still running but ranks 27th in ridership, not in Brooklyn, but 27 out of the 281 routes in the entire city.
I believed in that one year, the approved suggestion saved the MTA a total of like $30 million. So yes, I think I know I can design routes better than the MTA can to make them successful. When I was in charge of recouping money from the insurance companies for 9-11, we got another $30 million back.



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