According to the findings, the average speed of a bus on an SBS route was 8.9 mph, while buses still on local routes travel at an average speed of 7.4 mph. Worse yet, the SBS routes and local routes share a dismal 62 percent on-time performance.
Given the consternation from some residents when the city decides to bring an SBS route to their neighborhood – mostly in light of lost parking and travel lanes for passenger vehicles – is it really worth all of the trouble to force them into existence?
One issue is the city's slow pace of implementing Transit Signal Priority, which synchs upcoming traffic lights with buses. To date, only three lines have the technology installed on the entirety of their routes.
But one of the biggest problems is trucks and cars parking in the bus-only lane. How Department of Transportation officials didn't see this as a potentially huge problem is beyond us.
Did they really think painting a green lane marked “buses only” would prevent New Yorkers from parking or driving in it?
During the 18-month period the comptroller studied the SBS routes, there were 683,000 tickets issued for bus lane and bus stop obstructions.
Tickets as a matter of enforcement are fine, but a ticket doesn't move the car of truck in that moment. Likewise, for trucks making deliveries, tickets are just a part of doing business for a company. If ensuring all your deliveries get to your customers on time means a ticket or two during the day, just add it in as a cost of doing business.
In fact, 28 percent of all violations were issued to vehicles with five or more infractions, and 1,105 vehicles had between 25 and 49 bus stop violations. One commercial vehicle had 870 violations in 18 months!
Passenger vehicles outnumber commercial vehicles when talking about a low number of violations, but as the violations increase, the perpetrator tally shifts dramatically to the “commercial” side of the ledger.
And the report found that the issues are causing a marked decrease in riders, with some SBS routes losing approximately 20 percent of ridership.
Obviously, enforcement isn't the solution, and if the city can't figure out how to keep vehicles out of the bus lanes, then it shouldn't be in such a rush to add SBS lanes if it is a controversial move.
Unless the SBS lanes are intended to generate ticket revenue, in which case they are working fabulously!