Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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MTA Adjusts Bus Frequency According to Ridership on 65 Lines

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Riders on bus lines all over the city could soon see some changes to the schedules on their line, as the MTA responds to changes in ridership trends—but not everyone is going to like them. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

Fewer riders? Less service.

Come September, that's what likely awaits the more than 11,000 thousand riders who rely on the M104 daily.

"It's already a problem in the afternoon, especially between 5 and 6:30, when one can wait as long as an hour for one to show up," one rider says.

The M104 is the only local bus line in Manhattan set to have buses running less frequently during the p.m. peak and evening hours as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority gets set to make 65 bus schedule changes to lines citywide.

While 36 of the proposed changes will increase how frequently buses run, 29 will lead to reductions—including on the M104, where the wait for bus in the evening is set to go from 10 minutes to 12.

"That's in a perfect world, everything is running perfectly on schedule, there's no traffic, there's no wheelchair passengers. The result, I'm afraid, is that you're going to see much longer waits for the M104," Andrew Albert says.

That's bound to annoy riders on the M104, which runs along Broadway from Harlem to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 41st Street and 8th Avenue.

"There has been a systematic cutting away of the 104 service beginning in 2010, when the whole East Side portion of East 42nd Street was chopped off."

"Those riders on the Upper West Side have been calling, emailing and advocating for a bus, the old bus, that went down and up Broadway and then across on 42nd Street," says Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

The line quit running as far east as the United Nations four years ago, as part of massive cuts to the transit system.

The MTA says that ridership on the M104 has been decreasing for decades, while subway service across 42nd Street has improved. The changes, the MTA says, are being made to meet ridership demands.

Demand for the line keeps dropping, with weekday ridership on the M104 down half from what it was in 2008, according to agency statistics.

"If you wanted to systematically ruin a bus line, this is the way you do it," Albert says.

Riders say they could do without the longer waits.

"Do they think that we don't need it more frequently?" asks one rider.

They'll find out in a few months.

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