For the B61, a BusTime bonus for bad service


While it is no substitute for more frequent service or the reopening of the F/G stop at Smith/9th Sts., Brooklyn-based riders of the B61 received a welcome addition to their route this week as Transit brought Bus Time to this beleaguered line. Beginning this past Monday, bus riders from Windsor Terrace to Downtown Brooklyn, by way of Red Hook, are now able to track the buses as they amble down the line. As the B61 is one of the borough’s least reliable routes, riders will now know just how late their buses will be.

In a sense, this type of technological upgrade is a cheap and ineffective substitute for better service. People don’t just want to know their bus is late; rather, they want buses to be on time and frequent. On the other hand though, numerous studies have shown mass transit riders are willing to weather longer waits if they know how far away the next bus is. The complaints shouldn’t cease, but wait times may be more tolerable if the element of surprise is removed.

The B61 joins the B63, the M34 and all of Staten Island as Bus Time-ready routes. The city-wide rollout will be completed by the end of 2013.

Categories : Asides, Brooklyn, Buses

14 Responses to “For the B61, a BusTime bonus for bad service”

  1. Smith9 says:

    this is nice, but really only for people like myself who live near smith and 9th. now i can just check the site and see exactly when i should walk out the door to catch the bus. work to the underside of the subway track is looking good from carroll right up to huntington. from there to the station and just beyond it looks like there’s still a lot to do. the new station also looks far from complete. methinks fall 2012 will expire just like “march” and “spring” did. how does the station look, since i no longer see it?

    • I rode by a week or two ago. It’s getting there but there’s a long way to go. “Fall” though could mean as late as mid-December, no?

      • al says:

        Even then, there might still be lots of work left to finish. It might be functional, but they might still have contractor work space lights around for night time illumination instead of station lighting.

      • Peter says:

        Fall ends on December 21st lmao

  2. Larry Littlefield says:

    Am I an old fogey, or is it a lot to ask the low income population of Red Hook to have a smart phone to know when the bus is coming? I don’t have one, and they aren’t cheap.

    Given that the same people, it is assumed, and incapable of having a credit or debit card and using the machines to get their metrocards.

    • I think you have a point, but you don’t need a smartphone for this. The info is available via a basic SMS text message that any phone is capable of sending. That said, smartphone penetration, even in low-income areas in the city, is very deep.

      • Larry Littlefield says:

        Text message? I guess I am an old fogey, because I don’t do that either..

        Actually I’m a cheapskate. I resist the assertion that additional products and services are necessary.

    • BoerumHillScott says:

      Some stores along the B63 put monitors in their windows with the Bustime info.

      I don’t know if it was subsidized by the MTA,or just done to be good neighbors.

  3. BrooklynBus says:

    Why am I not optimistic that the MTA will be on tine with their 2013 target completion date?

  4. BrooklynBus says:

    I just checked where the buses are just for the fun of it. Although no buses were bunched, five buses were going south bound and only two northbound. The maximum wait fora bus is 3.6 miles. Until the MTA starts translating miles into time, and used Bustime to better regulate the buses, I really don’t see the use of it. What it mean to know the bus is 3.6 miles away? Is that 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes? Unless you keep checking, you can’t really leave to do something else without knowing am approximate time.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      Just checked 5 minutes later and the bus that just left th southern terminal just disappeared. Now there is one bus waiting at the southern terminal and the next northbound bus is at Atlantic and Clinton Avenue, a 4.6 mile gap between buses. Any northbound stop you check south of where the bus is says no bus on enroute.

  5. Murray Schechter says:

    When I think of it, it’s the routes with bad service that MOST need BusTime. Here’s my logic. Knowing that the next bus will be there in 3 minutes instead of 5 minutes is nice, and may lower my level of anxiety, but I won’t do anything different because of it. But knowing that the next bus is 17 minutes away instead of 4 may prompt me to use an alternative method of transportation (cab, dollar van, get a ride from a family member, etc.).

    Using these technologies to aid in decision making is the missing piece of the puzzle. If it were prioritized, subway stations like West 4th Street, where people stand halfway up the stairs waiting for either the A or D trains on different levels, would be the first to get countdown clocks.

    I think if the MTA were run by people who actually take trains and buses, they might “get it”.

  6. Al D says:

    They were better off just splitting the old B61, keeping the B77 and extending it to cover the southern portion of the B75.

    The thing that bothers me is that I believe the current routing was their plan all along and they misrepresented to all that the original B61 route split as a service improvement.

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