NYC comptroller calls bus system 'the other transit crisis'

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- MTA bus services, according to a newly released report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, is the other transit crisis.

"Our new analysis shows that New York City's bus system is losing riders at an extraordinary pace," Comptroller Stringer said.

The report cites a number of concerns, including how a New York City Transit bus travels on average 7.4 miles an hour along various routes. A typical bus spends half its time in motion and in traffic, the other half at red lights and bus stops.

"You could almost walk quicker than take a bus," Stringer said.

Louis Wilson took the Express Bus in from Staten Island.

"I got here within an hour, he said. "That's very good. That's on a good day. There's a lot of traffic."

Responding to the report, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said, "The bus system and our riders are the victims of a crisis. Traffic congestion and New York City's consistent inability to manage traffic flow and enforce existing traffic laws on its streets is killing our bus service and hurting bus riders."

A New York City DOT spokesperson welcomed Stringer's interest, but was "....surprised that a few recent and quite major bus-related developments... went unmentioned in the report."

The report also points out that in Greenpoint and several other areas where job growth has increased, the comptroller believes riders are underserved.

"It's very bad service," said Esmirna Barreto, who was waiting for the B48 bus. "Last week, I waited for an hour and 25 minutes, and there were a lot of people waiting for the bus right here."

The MTA believes the bus network is more dynamic than ever before, with routes being studied and changes made.

But the bottom line, the comptroller believes, comes down to money for improvements.

"I support congestion pricing and the bond act and the potential for a millionaires tax, whatever it takes for the state and the city to come together," he said.

The MTA and the mayor have differing views on how to fund improvements in the subway and bus system.
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