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Re: Queens Bus Redesign Draft Proposals

Posted by BusMgr on Wed Jan 15 21:06:42 2020, in response to Re: Queens Bus Redesign Draft Proposals, posted by Osmosis Jones on Wed Jan 15 17:51:49 2020.

What constitutes "success" depends on one's perspective!

The B103 history is interesting. It started in the same vein as the former R8X, an express to downtown Brooklyn. But it had two things going against it. First, like with the R8X, at the time downtown Brooklyn was not a thriving destination, other than low-end retail. Second, unlike the R8X, there really was not much of an "express" portion of the route between Church Avenue and Livingston Street. The B103 did all day, and it accepted transfers to and from the other express routes (BM1, BM3, and BM4) at Church Avenue, but still not much passenger traffic. Before the building boom in Brooklyn, the NYCTA discontinued the R8X, and Command Bus Company was on the same path. But unlike NYCTA, the planners involved with the B103 saw the problems, and took steps to address them, rather than just shutting down the route. The first thing was the recognition of the similarity between the B103 and Q53, and the fare on route B103 was lowered to match that of Q53 (effectively, the B103 fare was halved). Immediately, ridership picked up. Even though the fare was lowered, more revenue was generated with the lower fare. The next step was also taken in conjunction with the Q53, and that was the fare on each route was lowered to the standard limited-stop fare (i.e., the same as a local fare). In addition, route B103 was opened to passengers who were not destined for downtown Brooklyn. This part proved to be difficult, as some drivers and supervisors were no entirely comfortable with the "local" passenger traffic, especially the possibility that "too many" people would start riding route B103. The next step that Command Bus Company pursued--in cooperation with the Brooklyn borough president--was an extension on the east end of the route, to the Gateway Center shopping mall, and if successful to operate additional short-turn trips between the Junction and Gateway Center (the extension to Gateway Center, without added short-turn trips, could have been accomplished within the existing buses and drivers). While there was a public hearing on this step, it occurred in the middle of the era when the Department of Transportation was purposefully trying have all privately-operated bus service perform poorly (as part of its political strategy for an MTA Bus Company takeover of service), and so that step was not implemented by Command. After MTA Bus Company began operating the B103, it did do a better job in managing the supervisors to ensure that passengers not destined for downtown would be accommodated, and that, by itself, showed some of the true potential for route B103. Unfortunately, MTA Bus Company never followed through with the Gateway Center extension. So while route B103 is doing well now, it still has yet further potential. Will such extension appear when the Brooklyn bus network is redesigned?

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