BY Aline Reynolds
Riders of the Downtown Connection, the free shuttle-service connecting Battery Park City and the South Street Seaport, will no longer have to loiter at bus stops, wondering when the next bus will come.
The Downtown Alliance, the operator of the free shuttle, has installed energy-efficient signs at seven of the shuttle’s 37 stops in Lower Manhattan. The signs use Global Positioning Satellite technology to monitor the arrival and departure of the shuttles. They are intended to help riders better time their trips around Lower Manhattan.
“Who has waited forever for a bus to arrive and thought, I could have gotten a coffee, I could go buy a pack of gum, I’m going to be late,” said Downtown Alliance president Elizabeth Berger at a press conference last Thursday. “It’s a very important and simple thing.”
The D.A. erected five new “NextBus” signs at Water, Warren, Washington, Greenwich, and Pine Streets, after two successful pilot signs were installed in 2008. Each sign costs $4,600 up front and an additional $7,000 per year to maintain; State Senator Daniel Squadron secured $24,000 in funding for the project. An eighth sign will soon be in operation on Water Street, across from Peter Minuet Plaza, once construction is complete. Besides broadcasting the arrival and departure times, the NextBus signs can also transmit emergency public service messages.
“I have no way of knowing when I get to a particular bus stop if the bus is going to come in one minute or 15 minutes,” said Battery Park City resident and Community Board 1 member Jeff Galloway, who takes the shuttle from home to his office, at One Battery Park Plaza, a few times a week. There is currently no sign at the bus stop near Gateway Plaza, his residence, or at the stop on State Street, near his office. “It’d be very helpful in terms of planning what your options are, as well as giving you peace of mind,” he said.
“We know the challenges we’re having with free and public transportation across the city and right here in Lower Manhattan – from Peck Slip to Battery Park City,” said Senator Squadron. “The Downtown Connection really helps folks down here fill in those gaps.”
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