Annual 'Pokey,' 'Schleppie' awarded for New York City bus service

December 19, 2013 7:49:47 AM PST
If you are not in a rush, many New Yorkers say take the bus. If you need a nap, some might say try the M42 or M50.

The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives on Thursday gave out the annual awards for poor bus service in New York City.

The first is the 12th annual "Pokey" award for slowest local bus route in New York City. The uncoveted Pokey award is a golden snail on a pedestal, based on the speed of rides taken by Straphangers Campaign staff and volunteers on 34 routes.

Lines were selected because they had high ridership or were historically slow Manhattan crosstown routes.

The "winner" of the 2013 Pokey is a tie between the M50 and M42, which both had the slowest bus speed at 3.4 miles per hour as clocked at noon on a weekday.

"Our advice to the M42 and M50: Don't challenge a row boat to race around the Central Park Reservoir," said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign. "These crosstown buses are losers."

The groups 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.

"Thankfully, help is on its way," Transportation Alternatives executive director Paul Steely White said. "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."

In 2012, the M42 moved 14,829 riders on an average weekday and ranked 50th in riders out of 177 local bus routes. The M42 travels crosstown on 42nd Street between FDR Drive and Twelfth Avenue.

In 2012, the M50 moved 3,383 riders on an average weekday and ranked 150th in riders out of 177 local bus routes. The M50 travels crosstown on 49th and 50th Streets between First and Twelfth Avenues.

Meanwhile, the eighth annual "Schleppie" award, giving to the city's least reliable bus, goes to the M101/2/3.

The award is based on official transit statistics that measure how well buses keep to scheduled intervals.

The Straphangers Campaign says more than 30 percent of M101/2/3's arrive with big gaps in service or bunched together. The M101/2/3 goes from Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan to the East Village on 3rd and Lexington Avenues. The three routes share the "trunk route" of 3rd and Lexington avenues.

The M101 moved 29,341 riders on an average weekday in 2012 and was ranked the 13th highest route in bus ridership in the city out of a total 177 local buses. The M102 moved 15,284 riders and was ranked 46th. The M103 moved 12,548 riders and was ranked 66th.

To see the full report and for all the stats and information on each line in each borough, visit

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