Home Asides From Transit, an initiative to quiet noisy buses

From Transit, an initiative to quiet noisy buses

by Benjamin Kabak

Noise is to New York City as ______ is to ______. Traffic, honking, music, the constant hum and chatter of the city. It’s all there. Yet, as someone with a second floor apartment overlooking an avenue with a bus route, I can certainly attest to the fact that New York City’s buses are loud. They sigh and beep and groan their ways around residential neighborhoods, and when they arrive late at night, they have a way of piercing the quiet calm of the dark.

The MTA recognizes that its buses are deafening, and now they’re prepared to act. As Samuel Goldsmith Pete Donohue reports today, the authority will spend $1 million to quite its 5900 buses by approximately 20 percent. The measures include installing a new muffler that will, as the Daily News says, “remove[] moisture from the air-braking system and automatically releases bursts of air every five minutes or so.” This will reduce the noise from the suspension systems that activate at every stop. The MTA also plans to turn down the volume on the alarm that “alert[s] riders that the floor is being lowered for easier boarding and exiting.” Beeping will no longer fill the air.

Transit are hopeful that these measures will restore a sense of peace along noisy bus routes. “This will improve the quality of life in the city by reducing noise pollution tremendously,” Joseph Smith, the head of Transit’s bus division, said. Sounds good — and quiet — to me.

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Jonathan October 29, 2010 - 1:17 pm

Great news! Those floor-lowering alarms drive me nuts.

samsam October 29, 2010 - 1:29 pm


does anyone know how the mta decides which routes get those nice quiet hybrid electric buses…is there a long term plan to have all buses converted to that technology?

Al D October 29, 2010 - 2:47 pm

Any word if those squealing brakes on the RTS (The capsule buses) will be addressed. Man is that unnecessary. Just think if every car and truck made that noise whenever the brakes were applied!

Sara Nordmann October 29, 2010 - 11:45 pm

I used to have that problem with the ultra-loud buses below my window…and then the route was cut. (R.I.P. B71!) I’m happy for you, Ben. This is definitely a positive step, though I can imagine people saying, “Why are they spending $1 million on THAT when they’ve cut service?!” etc.

rhywun October 31, 2010 - 2:16 am

Hooray for small miracles. My next step would be: move bus stops back to the near side of intersections. The roar of buses outside my window as they gather speed to beat the red light, belching air and changing gears, drives me nuts and sends my cats fleeing in terror to the back of the house every ten minutes. Wishful thinking, I know – the whole point of the arrangement after all is to provide convenience for automobile traffic – but you never know. Of course, this only applies when I’m at home. When I’m ON a bus, I am a huge supporter of crazed, maniacal driving as long as it shaves a minute or two off my trip.

herenthere November 6, 2010 - 10:50 pm

What about the new Orion buses with the stupid “Doors Opening” and “Doors Closing” announcements that play every time the rear door is operated??? And the “Touch yellow tape to open doors.” I mean really, do I need hear that 10+ times every bus ride?


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