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Bus-aster! Seventh Ave’s two lines behaving like one

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Park Slope commuters are furious that the two bus lines serving Seventh Avenue continue to bunch up — rendering useless the staggered schedule that is supposed to be enhancing local service.

The Brooklyn Paper clocked buses at Ninth Street for an hour and a half during one morning rush hour, finding that wait times in both directions were far longer than scheduled because the two buses working that route — the B67 and the B69 — kept arriving at the same time.

So rush-hour commuters traveling toward Downtown waited at the Ninth Street stop for up to 24 minutes between 8 and 9:30 am.

The reason? In half the instances, buses were bunched into groups of two or three. So instead of 10 separate buses, effectively, there were only seven.

Morning non-Downtown-bound commuters had their own difficulties. Eight of their 14 buses arrived in groups of two during the same rush hour last week, creating waits of up to 17 minutes.

The situation is driving Park Slope commuters nuts.

“Here they come, two buses in a row! It’s so stupid how they do this,” complained John Powers, as two buses arrived at the exact same time just before 5 pm on Friday afternoon.

Each bus line begins its run on Cortelyou Road in Kensington — but are staggered by five to nine minutes during the morning commute. The lines follow the same path to Seventh Avenue and are supposed to maintain the same five- to nine-minute spacing.

But the buses don’t read their own schedules. By 8:13, three Downtown buses arrived together. Commuters then waited for 24 minutes for the next Downtown, which showed up at 8:38 — and had its sister on its heels.

The delays effectively neutralize what could be doubled-up service along Seventh Avenue between 20th Street and Flatbush Avenue — a problem that remains unchanged since last June, when the MTA cut in half the frequency of the B67 and moved the B69 to Seventh Avenue from Eighth Avenue as part of a cost-cutting measure.

Officials were informed of the problem in July, and they promised to fix the persistent “scheduling snags.”

These changes were part of massive, borough-wide overall of the bus system, which either cut or restructured 26 bus lines, saving the MTA $100 million.

But it wasn’t enough: three months ago, the MTA raised the price of a single bus ride 25 cents, bringing the cost to $2.50.

The fare hike combined with bad service has Seventh Avenue commuters indignant.

“It’ll take like 45 minutes, and then two or three buses will come together,” complained Candy Pereira, of East New York, who was traveling downtown at 5 pm on Friday afternoon. “And they just raised the prices!”

MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker blamed the conditions last week on the lingering snow, but said that the MTA would “take a look at the situation to see if anything else can be done.”

Again.

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Reader Feedback

boof from brooklyn says:
One problem I noticed is that the travel lanes are more narrow because of snow in the parking lanes.

Enforce the laws regarding double parking and parking within 12 inches of the curb, and bust times should improve.
Feb. 14, 2011, 9:43 am
J from Brooklyn says:
It has nothing to do with the snow. They bunch together because it makes for easy work if you tail another bus. The front bus picks up passengers and the tailing bus just follows. Easy peesy.

The MTA is well aware of this. It's been a problem for... pretty much as long as buses have existed. I'm not sure how the MTA or bus operators will deny the problem when they start GPs tracking all of them though.
Feb. 14, 2011, 10:31 am
K from Crown Heights says:
This happens incessantly on the B44 line, especially going northbound from Crown Heights to Williamsburg. The B44 is the most heavily used line in the borough, which makes it especially annoying.
Feb. 14, 2011, 2:23 pm
JAY from PSLOPE says:
hahaha the MTA messing up NOOOOOOO!? Is this really a story? They do it on purpose just like the purposefully suck at everything
Feb. 14, 2011, 10:26 pm

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