DNA Info this morning has news of some bus cuts. Six Manhattan lines — the M5, M31, M42, M72, M98 and M104 — will see peak-hour reductions in service starting this September. According to their reports, wait times will increase by 1-2 minutes, and the cuts, driven supposedly by demand and not economics, are going to save the MTA $900,000 a year.
A few other buses in Manhattan will see service increase though. The M9 and M20 will see added buses while the M116 will receive a few more buses during nights and weekends. “We look at demand and ridership and take that into account and schedule headway accordingly,” an authority spokesman said to DNA info.
I’m always a bit skeptical when I hear of bus cuts like this because it’s part of the “death by 1000 cuts” approach I’ve worried about. If the MTA cuts bus service in small increments, eventually, they will make it so that the bus is an impractical and inconvenient mode of surface transit. The longer people wait, the less likely they are to use the bus or take transit. At some point, it because cost-inefficient to operate empty buses, but at some point, cuts lead to a downward spiral. It is a fine line between the two.