Accidents happen – but when they happen to New York City buses nearly 22,000 times in less than three years, eyebrows get raised.
MTA buses were involved in no fewer than 21,823 crashes, collisions and assorted other accidents over the course of 31 months starting back in 2015, according to the New York Post.
As Post reporters Sara Dorn and Susan Edelman point out, “At least 2,520 people — or 2.7 per day — were injured during the time period, according to the MTA. At least 14 people died, including a 25-year-old skateboarder, a 62-year-old pedestrian, a 60-year-old motorist and a 70-year-old with a walker who was mutilated by a hit-and-run bus. School buses were involved in at least 180 accidents, the data show. In one case, a 9-year-old boy and a 54-year-old woman were taken to the hospital when an MTA bus rear-ended their school bus. The agency turned over the incident records more than six months after The Post filed a Freedom of Information Law request — and only under threat of legal action.”
Stories that New Yorkers tell of sub-standard bus service have become the stuff of legend. Last fall, members of the Riders Alliance and the Bus Turnaround Campaign gathered at a bus stop in Columbus Circle to mark the book launch of a new collection of real-life NYC bus rider stories called The Woes on the Bus: Frustration and Suffering, All Through the Town. The book compiles firsthand stories collected from riders of poor bus service leading to lost jobs, lost wages, missed doctor’s appointments and other incidents that show the human consequences of New York’s slow and unreliable buses.
“Over the course of this year, Riders Alliance organizers collected nearly 1,000 stories from bus riders at bus stops in all five boroughs and through the Riders Alliance web site,” the group said in a release. The tales told in the pages of the book illustrate “the impact poor bus service has on 2.5 million New Yorkers who depend on buses on an average weekday. Among the titles of the first-person accounts within its pages are I Don’t Schedule Meetings Before 9 A.M.; I Lost My Last Job Because of the Bus; The School Charges When You’re Late for Pick-up; and I Could Have Done Background Vocals for John Legend.
Also last year, the Bus Turnaround Coalition, in conjunction with State Assembly Corporations, Commissions and Authorities Committee Chair Jeffrey Dinowitz, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and State Senator Marisol Alcantara, released a letter to Governor Cuomo asking him to direct the MTA to commit to two-low cost solutions to improve bus service. Days after the MTA released their comprehensive plan to tackle subway delays, the letter from elected officials in the Assembly and Senate called for similar action to fix ailing bus service.
“Residents of my district are dependent on bus service to get around, and the quality of service is unacceptable. There are basic changes that can be made to improve bus service, right now, which would drastically improve average travel speed and reduce bus bunching,” said Chair of Corporations, Commissions and Authorities Committee, Assembly Member Dinowitz, in a release posted on the Riders Alliance site.
By: Harlan Reher
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