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    A lot of it is cultural, developed over decades.

    For easy, quick reference, here’s my question again:

    How do we change it?

    Would you care to suggest some ways that we can change this cultural abomination? If not, I’ll assume that you approve of the bloody status quo.


    Jonathan R

    My experience on the Q44-SBS is that the fare inspectors take one person off the 50-person bus every other time I see them, which is about once a week.


    Jonathan R

    Exactly. Take the Bx40/42 one afternoon and you will see.


    Joe R.

    No, the AMA’s position is irrelevant here because we’re not talking about residential lighting in houses. They’re confusing legitimate issues of light distribution, like glare or light trespass, with color temperature and blue content. And they’re advocating for low CCT streetlighting which is actually dangerously bad, just like the HPS lights it’s replacing. Many studies have been done on visual acuity versus color temperature. Here are a few:…round_Lighting

    You want higher CCTs for streetlighting to improve visual acuity, depth perception, and peripheral vision. Most of the problems people have had with LED streetlights really come down to poor design which causes glare and/or light trespass. These issues will still exist with lower CCT streetlights of the same design. The optimal CCT for streetlights to maximize visual acuity and minimize glare is in the range of 4000K to 5000K.

    Even worse, they’re getting into the blue light pseudoscience of melatonin suppression. The AMA really has no business sticking its nose into a matter like this. Streetlight design is solely the prevue of lighting and traffic engineers. The primary purpose of streetlighting is for street users to be able to see well. All other concerns are secondary other than issues of glare which prevent road users from seeing. If there’s light trespass people can put up shades if it’s a problem, or ask their municipality to put up shields to reduce light trespass into their residences. Beyond that, there aren’t any other concerns. Whether or not the light disrupts sleep cycles for those on the street is moot. In fact, it’s good if it does because it keeps drivers more awake and alert, which is exactly what we want.

    Also note that much of the concern around sleep cycle disruptions centers on people staring at their phones or computers at night. This is a virtual flood of blue light compared to anything they might get from streetlights in terms of both exposure time and intensity.


    Joe R.

    I saw a memo from a neighbor who was a doctor about 20 years ago. He wouldn’t let me photograph it or copy it for obvious reasons. I’ve been looking for a source ever since. I never watched it but this may have been mentioned in the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”.


    sammy davis jr jr

    Oh please! Don’t equate deaths from natural phenomenalike lightning motor vehicles deaths – HALF of which can be prevented with the very speed cameras you dedicate your life fighting against!


    sammy davis jr jr

    Not to mention that camera enforcement is revenue positive. There are just no excuses left to not implement them!



    If I recall, in the early 1990s the AMA came out against electric cars because the reduction in cancer cases would have cut into the income of hospitals. I can’t take any organization seriously which made such a self-serving recommendation.

    Are you going to come up with a source for that, or just leave that wild accusation up there and use it as a reason to attack the AMA?



    Interestingly, sleep disorders occur both during winter and summer at higher latitudes.

    Yes, too much or too little light will cause health problems for a lot of people. Hence the AMA’s position that that should be taken into account when planning artificial lighting.



    and this is another reason for proof of payment fare collection. the driver can focus on driving the bus safely instead of worrying about riders paying their fares



    but how many people were evading the fare on the Bx12 BEFORE proof of payment?


    Larry Littlefield

    One day you will wake up to find that so many people have beaten the system, it has collapsed. The right wingers, who never cared much about the system, will be laughing at you from Idaho.

    But at least you can have a laugh at my expense.



    If that is so, they’re only pissing away free money. If there are evaders, you want to successfully fine enough of them to make up the lost revenue. If there are lots of evaders, it could even be a minor windfall – which will, of course, normalize when evasion is driven back to a more natural level.

    But I guess the main concern here is making sure everyone follows rules, not having a working system. Authoritarians.



    The best way to reduce fare evasion is make fares more affordable by funding the MTA.



    Not like we thought of most of the things we do use.

    Ironically, NYC’s last transportation innovation really might have been Robert Moses ideas, which are exactly what we need to move away from.



    I’d be okay with that. Seems to be more the norm in the first world anyway.

    I can accept any number of equitable options, but I’m tired of these schemes that only benefit one tiny select group of people.


    Joe R.

    NIV (not invented here) syndrome. If NYC didn’t think of something, then we don’t want to use it. Of course, in the rare instances where we try something the rest of the world does, and it works, then we claim it was invented here!

    Bike lanes, proof of payment, open gangway subway trains, electric bikes, leaving parks open after dark are but some examples of things lots of people think won’t work here because NYC is a special, special flower.



    Look, this may work in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, but it will be a disaster on MY bus line!

    I mean I’m all for it but I have some concerns. Some of my best friends are proof of payment buses. I think we should take things slow and let the community have a say. Why wasn’t the community ever told about this?!!



    You’re not too cynical. It’s pretty rampant on the Fordham route, though I see a broken kiosk at least once a week, contributing to the problem.


    Larry Littlefield

    Maybe what is needed in unlimited transfers within a window for pay per ride.


    Larry Littlefield

    Maybe I’m too cynical, but it could be that the extent of fare evasion on the SBS routes is an underestimate, meant to battle critics.

    Whereas the possible extent of fare evasion on other routes is an over estimate, meant to keep the system as it is.



    I don’t understand why people in NY are so against doing things that the rest of the world does just fine.


    Joe R.

    Don’t forget the nifty new paint scheme on the buses which is reminiscent of Cuomo’s old GTO! And which ironically has a yellow stripe more or less in the shape of a snail.



    Did you reach out to Kevin Ortiz about this? I’d be very interested to hear his (or the MTA’s) response. Are they simply not aware of their own data and SFMTA’s data, or is there something more complex that didn’t fit into a news article?


    William Farrell

    With modern fare collection you can have all-door boarding, as is the case on the SBS buses.



    I’ve seen plenty of people evading the fare by walking in through the front door and simply not paying. The drivers don’t confront them. I imagine they don’t consider it their problem, which is understandable Do you expect the driver to get into a fight? Perhaps the driver could refuse to move the bus, which might prompt the other passengers to get into a fight, but I don’t think we want that either. Plus, the bus would be late, which is not good for anyone.



    I mean, if this is something that you’re serious about, there’s nothing stopping you from buying a van and using it as a storage container right now.

    Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay insurance and registration on it, and move it for alternate side.

    Rough cost in Brooklyn would be ~$4k for an old cargo van ~$2.5k for insurance, ~$100 for registration, plus however long it takes you to move it for alternate side (this depends on your personal schedule, and when you decide to move it).

    Insurance for the stuff inside it would be extra (not sure how much).

    Whether of not that makes sense is up to you.



    How can you evade the fare on normal buses? People sneaking in the rear door?


    Alex Engel

    I don’t think it’s the price that’s the issue here. I think it’s figuring out how to buy a MetroCard (easier done at a subway station than at LaGuardia). Since tourists will be transferring anyway, the MTA will most likely get their fare. I encountered this myself once trying to take the Q70 and having the MetroCard machine out of service (along with someone conveniently next to it selling swipes… )



    We can’t do this until we have usb charging and wifi on the buses first! Priorities!!! Who cares about speed when you can akwardly charge your phone from the ceiling?



    I thought the SBS BX 6 would launch by years end. What a shame.

    Staten Islanders seem to want to be subsidized further for their suburban like decisions too. $3 bridge toll. How about living closer to reliable mass transportation to the city core?


    Joe R.

    I don’t disagree with any of that. In fact, I’ll add as a scientist/engineer studies of physical phenomena are very useful because they are repeatable but studies of almost any facet of humanity border on useless because humans don’t follow immutable physical laws. I tend to think such studies exist simply so the MTA can dole out nice consulting fees to those with political connections, or in return for “favors”.


    Larry Littlefield

    “Until someone does a study, we’ll never really know one way or the other.”

    Speaking of someone who was once paid to do studies by the government, they are useless.

    The only way to do this is the Bloomberg Janet Sadik-Khan way. Do it. Measure the consequences. Then change course, if needed.

    Start by increasing service off peak. All that takes is more diesel and bus driver hours, and only to the extent that the drivers aren’t being paid between peaks.

    “For July and August only, during non-rush hours the Q70 to LaGuardia Airport will be free! Give it a try!”

    Any business would do the same to promote its service.


    Joe R.

    Faster service would in fact might allow the MTA to increase service frequency without needing to increase the number of buses. If the end result of a free bus is more subway riderway, plus faster bus service, then the idea could be revenue neutral. Until someone does a study, we’ll never really know one way or the other. The study would need to account for all of the following:

    1) Revenue lost from non-linked trips
    2) Revenue gained from new riders who transfer to the subway or to an non-free bus line
    3) Average speed increases resulting from avoiding the need to collect fares (these could be substantial if they result in avoiding red light cycles much of the time)
    4) Operating cost savings resulting from higher bus speeds but the same frequency of service
    5) Possible need for more service due to new ridership, and the costs of this service above and beyond present operating costs (note that #4 could negate much of this by allowing greater service frequency without needing more buses)



    It’s not a bad idea, but I’m pretty sure it would be illegal unless it’s *only* an airport shuttle.



    There could be an agreement made for airport transportation fees (existing or increased) paying for a free shuttle bus, which would cause increased speed and ridership, then greater frequencies, then meet more people s needs, reduce confession at and arround the airport and not cost the MTA anything.


    Larry Littlefield

    That’s what I saw. But the MTA gets revenues if people who would not have done so otherwise take the LIRR, don’t they?

    The real issue is walk-up.



    I don’t know if these numbers are right, but from posts on SAS and at the other link below, I found ridership estimates: 3,358 per day and an estimate of the percentage who are not transferring from the subway (15%). If we assume these are correct, a free Q70 would cost $500k per year in lost fares.

    It is possible the faster (and free) Q70 would increase ridership and require more frequent service. This would cost more, but at the same time would bring more subway revenue.

    This should be studied more and should not be dismissed offhand. Achieving the primary goals of making the buses faster and carry more passengers overall with the side effect of having to make the bus free should not be dismissed off hand.

    estimate of subway fares versus LIRR transfer and walkup fares

    Ridership data



    This debate is useless without numbers. The MTA should calculate how much money they would loose with a free Q70. It would only be people who do not take the subway or who do bus-subway-bus. I can’t be a very large number.



    As I understand accounting, you’d probably want your fare to cover the fixed costs – which are, unfortunately, very high for MTA transit, maybe near 100% besides some circumstantial and environmental issues (overtime, certain conditions causing variations in energy use). But I think it would be mathematically impossible for every expansion to result in a greater loss; some expansions will reduce the overall loss, even though they’d still generate a loss themselves!

    LGA AirTrain could very easily be a profitable, given it would not be manned – the caveat being it attracts enough users. The BQE streetcar should probably be expected to be very expensive at first, and then over time get cheaper relative to everything else as inflation reduces the relative size of the debt payments compared to the rest of the MTA budget. The ferry expansion is actually interesting because it changes the service pattern to be more transit-ish, but so far experience has shown us ferries don’t really attract riders.



    *Not quite*, but what are we talking about here? A few people a day? Maybe none on a typical day?

    I actually have no problem with making bus-subway-bus transfers a one-fare deal. Really, a passenger-mile is a passenger-mile and 5 passenger miles on one bus is on average no more costly per rider than 2.5 passenger miles on each of two buses.



    I think the free airport bus idea is an insulting crock. If we’re going to dole out transfer welfare, let’s dole it out to the people who need it: New Yorkers in poor neighborhoods who struggle to pay for a trip to a job interview, school, or wherever else. Of course, if we did that, newspapers like the Daily News would scream about how black people are getting free stuff. Hurr, socialism.

    People already paying $400 for a plane ticket aren’t about to be turned off by a $2.75 bus ride. If they aren’t using the bus, it’s because the bus doesn’t meet their needs.



    Laurie Cumbo, Ben Kallos, and other Councilmembers who let advisory CB’s delay/destroy safe street infrastructure could learn from this.



    Quite possibly!



    They are not free for people making the transfer if those people transferred to the subway from a bus.
    As highlighted by my experience.

    So no, it is not free for not quite everyone making the transfer, and not quite everyone is making the transfer.



    they look very dangerous, don’t you have a block association or something ?


    Joe R.

    Those are carnivores from the Cretaceous era. :)




    what are those bizarre machines stored on your street at night ? They look like creatures from a 1950s sci fi film


    dave "paco" abraham

    Kudos to Councilman Reynoso for yet again demonstrating true leadership rather than community board cowardice. I hope DOT takes his suggestion. If not. let’s start a betting pool when we’ll needlessly have more dead NYers at that terrible intersection.


    Larry Littlefield

    But they are free for anyone making the transfer. That’s the only thing that temporarily interrupted the long-term decline in bus ridership after the Metrocard was introduced.

    In fact round trips can be had for one fare, one way on the bus and one way on the subway. Linked trips too, as long as the second trip takes place within a window and is on the other mode.