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Manhattan’s 14th Street bus named city’s slowest; Bed Stuy-to-JFK line named least reliable, new study finds

Posted at 12:56 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 12:56:59-04

It’s probably faster to walk than take most city buses on high-ridership routes, according to an annual study by the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and TransitCenter.

Manhattan’s M14A, which travels along 14th Street, won the groups’ 2019 “Pokey Award” on Tuesday for being the city’s slowest bus line, with an excruciating average speed of 4.3 mph, the study found.

The M14A, which runs between the Lower East Side and Chelsea Piers, moved slower than a manatee, which typically averages 5 mph, according to a news release about the findings.

The M14A was recently  upgraded to an SBS route, which should speed up service because passengers pay the fare before boarding, and the bus makes fewer stops. However, for SBS to work properly, buses need their own dedicated lane, and the M14A does not have one.

Winning the groups’ 2019 “Schleppie Award,” for the city’s least-reliable bus line, is Brooklyn’s B15, taking riders between Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and Kennedy Airport in Queens.

“One out of five buses, or 20%, arrive ‘bunched’ on the B15, and that means long waits and too much unpredictability for 19,827 daily weekday riders,” the study says.

“Bunching” occurs when two or more buses arrive at a stop at the same time, a sign that large gaps have opened up in service, making the wait longer for riders.

Manhattan’s M42, which has won the “Pokey Award” five times in recent years, was given a special “Lifetime Depreciation Award” this year, due to declining ridership. The line’s daily ridership dipped so low this year, it’s not even eligible for the “Pokey Award.”

Since 2012, a third of the bus’ total riders, traveling across Manhattan’s 42nd Street, have stopped taking the line, the study says.

Slowest high-ridership bus lines in each borough:

According to the analysis, the slowest bus in Brooklyn is the B35, traveling between Brownsville and Sunset Park at an average speed of 4.8 mph.

The slowest Bronx bus line is the BX19, which takes riders between the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Manhattan’s Riverbank Park at an average speed of 4.8 mph.

Queens’ slowest bus line is the Q54, traveling at an average speed of 6.4 mph between Jamaica and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Over on Staten Island, the S48 bus line is the slowest on the island, taking riders between St. George and Mariners Harbor at about 7.8 mph.

Most unreliable bus routes in each borough:

Manhattan’s least-reliable bus line, according to the study, is the M11, which travels between Greenwich Village and Harlem, or Riverbank Park, depending on the bus.

The most unreliable bus line in the Bronx is the BX3, taking riders between Riverdale and Washington Heights in Manhattan.

Queens’ least-reliable bus line is the Q24, which travels between Jamaica and Bushwick in Brooklyn.

Over on Staten Island, the S78 bus is their least-reliable line, taking riders between Bricktown Mall and St. George Ferry Terminal.