Straphangers Campaign names annual Schleppie, Pokey awards for poor bus service in New York City

The Schleppie and Pokey awards go to the least reliable and slowest bus routes

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Monday, August 8, 2022
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The Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter revealed the "winners" of their annual Schleppie and Pokey awards for poor bus service in New York City. NJ Burkett has the story.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter on Monday revealed the "winners" of their annual Schleppie and Pokey awards for poor bus service in New York City.

Th 17th-annual Pokey Award, given to the slowest local bus route, went to the M102, which clocked in at an average speed of just 4.6 mph.

The M102, the recipient of a golden snail on a pedestal, had the slowest speed out of the 77 high-ridership bus routes. Many of the pokiest bus routes run to or within Manhattan, slowed by intense congestion in the borough.

The groups noted that at 4.6 mph, the M102 moved slower than a fluttering butterfly, which typically has a pace of 5 mph.

"For years, the M102 has been on the list of slowest buses in New York City, so this year's Pokey Award should come as no surprise," said Megan Ahearn, with the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. "With buses maintaining higher ridership levels throughout the pandemic, the city's transit leadership should be rolling out the red carpet for riders by enforcing bus lanes and opening all doors for boarding."

While the M102 suffers from heavy congestion along its route, officials said common sense bus reforms can speed up trips for its over 8,000 daily weekday riders, including the roll out of a congestion pricing plan, enforcing bus lanes, and implementing all-door boarding.

"The M102 and many other New York City buses are devastatingly slow, but we know that dedicated bus lanes, all-door boarding, and congestion pricing will speed them up," said Ashley Pryce, TransitCenter Senior Advocacy Associate. "Hundreds of thousands of riders rely on New York City buses every day, and they need the MTA, the city, and the governor to enact these solutions."

The slowest, high-ridership buses in each borough were:

--M102: 4.6 mph, between Harlem and the East Village

--Bx19: 4.8 mph, between New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Riverbank Park in Manhattan

--B35: 5.1 mph, between Brownsville and Sunset Park

--Q32: 5.5 mph, between Jackson Heights in Queens and Penn Station in Manhattan

--S48: 8 mph, between St. George and Mariners Harbor

Nearly all of the city's slowest, high-ridership routes have gotten faster since the last Pokey Award was bestowed pre-pandemic in 2019, save for the Queens winner.

The Q32 clocked a slower time than the 2019 winner (Q54) by nearly a full mile per hour, overtaking the small gains made by other borough winners.

When averaged, this year's borough honorees have a slightly slower speed by .2 miles per hour (5.8 mph in 2019's report compared to 5.6 mph in this year's report).

--In Manhattan, the M102 overtook the M14A as the pokiest Manhattan bus. The M14A has benefited from recent Select Bus Service (SBS) designation - speeding the route up and taking it out of contention for the Pokey Award.

--The Bronx winner, the Bx19, is the same winner as in 2019 and clocked the same average speed.

--The Brooklyn winner, the B35, is the same winner as in 2019, but has improved its average speed (going from 4.8 mph in 2019's report to 5.1 mph for this year's report).

--Queens' Q32 takes the mantle from the Q54 and clocks a slower time than the 2019 winner by nearly a full mile per hour.

--Staten Island's S48 is the same winner as in 2019, and has improved its average speed from 7.8 MPH in 2019 to 8 MPH in this year's report.

The second award, the 13th annual Schleppie Award, goes to the city's least reliable bus and is marked with golden lumbering elephants on a pedestal. This year, it went to the B12.

The Schleppie Award is based on the percentage of buses observed that "bunch," where riders wait a longer than scheduled time only to have several buses show up at the same time.

Data generated by MTA's BusTime showed that one out of five B12 buses, or 19.5%, arrived bunched.

"Our findings highlight what many city bus riders already know from daily commuting," said Cecilia Ellis, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign Coordinator. "Despite significant bus improvements in recent years, far too many riders still suffer slow and unreliable bus service."

According to the groups, the most unreliable bus routes in each borough are:

--B12: 19.5%, between Lefferts Gardens and East New York

--Bx3: 18.9%, between Riverdale in the Bronx and Washington Heights in Manhattan

--Q58: 18.4%, between Ridgewood and Flushing

--M100: 10.8%, between Inwood and East Harlem

--S78: 10.7%k, between Bricktown Mall and St. George Ferry Terminal

The groups noted that the number of routes eligible for a Schleppie Award has decreased over the years, in large part due to efforts by the MTA and NYC DOT to reverse years of failing bus service.

Two of the borough winners, the M100 and S78, do not show up in the top Schleppiest buses citywide, they did not meet the 15% threshold.

Overall, between the 2019 Schleppie winners and the 2022 winners, buses are bunching slightly less - with average bunching of 15.66% this year, compared to 15.92% in 2019's report.

--The Bronx Schleppie winner, the Bx3, is the same as 2019's report, but has decreased its schleppieness (19.2% to 18.9%).

--Brooklyn's winner goes from the B15 in 2019's report to the B12 in 2022's report, improving bunching slightly from 20% to 19.5%.

--The Manhattan winner, the M100, unseats 2019's winner, the M11 - decreasing bunching substantially from 14% in 2019's report to 10.8% in 2022's report.

--The 2022 Queens winner, the Q58 replaced 2019's Q24 and was more schleppie, arriving bunched 18.4% of the time compared to 2019's 16.3%.

--The Staten Island winner goes to the same route as in 2019, the S78, and increases bunching from 10.1% to 10.7%.

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