Friday, December 10, 2010

So... how's the M15 Select Bus service faring?

A few days ago EV Grieve reader Mike checked in with a report on the M15 Select Bus... been awhile since we heard anything about it...

So while waiting to buy ride and get receipt, I chatted with both the woman in front and back of me. Both of them loved the Select Bus! The biggest negative continues to be the lines that form for the machines to get tickets during rush hour. And that lady this morning who apparently decided that she didn't need to wait in line like everyone else, even when she cut right in front of me and I explained that the queue of people wasn't just folks fond of loitering — she acted dumbfounded and was not responsive, but hopefully that was from shame more than from being an asshole, which is how it seemed.

Rest in Peace M15 Limted Bus, Long Live M15 Select Bus!

And this morning, Mike noticed that the MTA looks to be installing MORE machines at 14th Street and First Avenue... which could help alleviate those rush-hour ticket lines...


troyst83 said...

I may need to try this out. Last time I took the m15, my commute to work which is on 42 and Lex was 30 minutes longer than taking the train.

blue glass said...

the limited stop on 9th street is gone meaning the select bus stops on 2nd street and upper 14th street. a long trip for the handicapped or elderly. the local buses come so rarely that you could be an ice person on these cold days. the transfer from cross town or subway to select bus is still unclear.
since the machines are broken so often you are taking a chance if you get on a select bus. on the other hand, if you wait for the local it could be 45 minutes. i call it the senior bus because most seniors don't want to walk the extra blocks from a select bus (or know how to deal with the transfer stuff) so they stand in the cold till a local comes.
it appears that the "select" aspect continues below houston street. i noticed signs on some bus stops adising that the select bus does not stop there. nor did i notice any sidewalk machines. i'm not below houston street very often.
it might be a good idea in the long run but there are still a lot of things that need to be ironed out. especially letting the drivers know what is going on. when queried they almost all say "i don't know". maybe this is their way out but i'v not been given accurate information from any driver.

i don't know ANYBODY that likes the new system.

Jeremiah Moss said...

if you get there at the last minute, you can't just jump on the bus and pay. you have to get the ticket, which takes time. the driver screams at you and leaves without you.

then, when you get the ticket, and wait in the cold for the next bus, the driver doesn't even LOOK at the paper, just waves you onboard. does it even matter?

Chris said...

Yup, they're adding more machines at a few stops to deal with the lines. They're also moving some of the machines back away from the street to accommodate wheelchairs more easily.

Shawn Chittle said...

Funny you should ask - this morning the L went down, so hundreds and hundreds scrambled for the next best thing at 1st Ave.

The M15 proved to be a rather new experience for most.

I like the M15, I don't mind swiping the card for the ticket and just getting on. The lines are a problem. Why?

The wait time before the machine resets for the next use is unbearably long. It's almost 10 seconds. TEN SECONDS! That is an eternity in NYC commute time. On the MetroCard machines you can just tap to reset it back. On the M15 machines you have to patiently wait... and wait... this is what causes the long lines.

The second it spits out that receipt it should reset back.

People were tapping the screen.

I said "No you have to press START."

They pressed the big "START" label on the machine.

I said "No the button below the word "Start."

Finally they got their ticket, and most said thank you. I helped a few people out.

It's not the most usable system, and that's the business I'm in, user experience.

Oh how I'd love to work for the MTA in that department!

Chris said...

Really, blue glass? You don't know anyone that likes SBS?

Please. Get out of your little bubble. There are plenty of people who like the new system. I like it because I can get uptown in about two-thirds of the time it used to take using the old M15. I like it because I can board at any door and not stand in line behind someone trying to swipe their Metrocard ten times. I like it because the new low-floor buses make loading the disabled faster and easier. I like it because the blue lights make it easier to see an approaching bus.

Guess what? I know I'm not the only one, because I personally know many other people who are using the M15 a lot more than they were before the changes. Somehow, you seem to find ONLY faults with a system that's proven to be faster, more efficient, and more convenient. It's obvious that you don't like change in any form. Get over it.

nygrump said...

8th St mus be returned as an express stop. I'm disappointed Rosie hasn't said anything _i've heard - about this..

Chris said...

Jeremiah, your comments remind me that I don't think the MTA ever communicated the whole point of SBS.

If a subway is coming into the station while you're still buying or shuffling for your Metrocard, does the train hold in the station for you? No. The whole purpose of the SBS is to run as a "surface subway" - moving large amounts of people between major stations by allowing them to board en masse.

To your other point, the driver shouldn't check the ticket at all! The whole point of the "proof of purchase" system is to show to fare inspectors that randomly board. Signs went up at stops specifically telling riders they don't have to show the ticket to the driver, yet I still see people board at the front to show their receipt, which holds up the bus.

I don't understand why, months after the service started, we're still having this discussion. It's either that riders are too stupid to use this new system, or they're too selfish to be willing to adapt to a system that's better for everyone.

Anonymous said...

You know Chris, it must be nice being smarter than everybody else, isn't it ?

Chris said...

Anon: I don't think I'm particularly smart. But I do know how to read signs and instructions, which is more than I can say for the people who continue to complain about SBS.

OWR said...

Agree with you Chris. Kudos the to the MTA for trying somethng different and quite difficult to created, literally an above-ground Subway. They could/should/will? think this through better for the elderly and handicapped and hopefully that will come in-time. Now if the city would onnly fucken get rid of or rethink the bicyclists and the bike lane then I would really start drooling in praise.

Coming soon, bike lane cops and ticketing I hope!!!

Anonymous said...

New york is so stupid (ie, the people in power {yeah, big shock})
Put the machines ON the bus, not on the sidewalk. Problem solved.
Saw this in Milan 25 years ago.
fkin idiots.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i guess if you're standing there awhile, and you have time to read all the literature about the bus, but when you just run up to it and jump on, well, it's a sucky experience.

Anonymous said...

The SBS bus I was on took over 45 minutes to get from 89th st to 23rd st during evening rush last night. There is no bus lane at all until 59th st.

blue glass said...

smart and hip chris:
if you can't easily get to 2nd street or 14th street, or any other select stop, you have to wait a very long time for the local bus. if you are not going to a "select" stop you also have to wait for at least 6 select buses to pass before the local comes.
so, to all the older folks, those with walkers or canes or wheelchairs that aren't accommodated by the new select buses with their pretty blue lights "f k you" right?
and you can smile as you pass them in the cold winter or snow.
it has nothing to do with disliking change or intelligence stupid!

Chris said...

Blue Glass: Yes, I'm a heartless asshole for defending a service the benefits countless many at the expense of inconveniencing a few. M15 Locals are running MORE often than they were prior to the introduction of SBS, and the new low-floor buses that are even used on the locals allow for faster, easier loading of the disabled.

In addition, if the disabled feel so inconvenienced by the removal of a bus stop, they also have Access-a-Ride at their disposal, which allows them a ride without even leaving their block.

I suppose you'll also be outraged by the fact that the Second Avenue Subway - if it ever gets built - won't have a stop at St. Mark's. Since the original plan in 1929, no stop has ever been planned between 14th and Houston. If this is a "surface subway," why the fuss over the loss of the SBS stop?

blue glass said...

on one hand you say the local buses are easier for the disabled and then you say they have access a ride.
it so happens that access a ride has reduced their services considerably. it's too complicated to go into here but a lot of former aar client are now on buses and have to wait for the local because of the distance between select stops.
and what if the inconvenienced few are the disabled and seniors? isn't that discrimination?
i can't wait till you are unable to zip around on your bike (not obeying traffic rules as you have stated) and are forced to wait for a local bus in the middle of the winter.

Chris said...

blue glass: I think you're confusing me with someone else. I've never stated I break traffic rules on my bike, and I've specifically participated in campaigns to get cyclists to stop breaking traffic laws.

But really, taking a jab at someone because they ride a bike? Par for the course here at EVG.

blue glass said...

apologies to chris if he's not the one that stated that he likes to zip down the street and rarely uses the bike lanes. i didn't want this to become personal.
i think bikes are great. it's the bike riders that ride everywhere except the bike lanes that i object to. sometimes the sidewalks are like the wild wild west. and many bikers, now that they have their own lane, think that other special accommodations go along with this like right of way, riding in any direction, etc.
progress is not always progress and many times it's not thought out prior to implementation.
unfortunately i think that the dot engineers are not working to make traffic better for citizens, i think they are fulfilling contractual specifications that benefit the developers of the machines, signs, etc. and that there are a lot of glitches to iron out.

nuf said.

nygrump said...

"If this is a "surface subway," why the fuss over the loss of the SBS stop?"

You answered your own question. The fuss is because its a service reduction. You can call us all the names you like but we don't like the reduction in service. that's it simply put. We used to pay for something and now we pay the same but the service is gone. For us, the service is worse.