I am state Senator Liz Krueger and I represent the 26th Senate District, which includes Midtown and the East Side of Manhattan. I am here today to request that the MTA end its plans to replace regular buses with articulated buses on the M15 line, which runs on First and Second Avenue in my district. The introduction of articulated buses constitutes a reduction in service to the thousands of riders traveling on the busiest bus line in Manhattan by creating longer lag times between buses and increased boarding times. Furthermore, constituents have complained that the articulated buses are not well designed to handle wheelchairs, are unpopular with the senior community and endanger health of residents in the vicinity by failing to utilize “green” technology. Because of their length, articulated buses also contribute to traffic congestion, as they more frequently “block the box” on crowded Manhattan streets. Articulated buses, already in use on several avenues and two-way streets in Manhattan, are scheduled to fully replace regular buses on First and Second Avenues in January 2004.
This past September, I testified before the a full board meeting of the MTA that the replacement of articulated buses, with fewer buses dispatched per hour and longer travel and boarding times constituted a reduction in services for bus riders on the East Side. As I am sure you have heard from others on your board the MTA’s own estimates show that residents will face a 60% longer wait on their morning commute. While the transition to articulated buses will increase the number of seats available, the longer ride times will aggravate riders leading to a decrease in ridership and further reductions in service.
As we move towards the future, we must constantly look for ways to create a more convenient, faster and more environmentally friendly system of public buses. The MTA’s cost cutting, shortsighted focus on increasing revenue miles works against this vision by creating a slower, unfriendly and unattractive bus system. I urge the MTA to reconsider its decision to introduce articulated buses to the M15 line.