Home Buses With bus consolidation, MTA inches toward bureaucratic overhaul

With bus consolidation, MTA inches toward bureaucratic overhaul

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA runs three different regional bus companies. NYC Transit Bus offers service in the five boroughs; Long Island Bus does exactly what you would expect; and MTA Bus runs the express bus routes formerly controlled by NY DOT and run by private companies. Up until this week, these three bus companies were run independent of each other with little intra-agency coordination. No wonder the MTA is a mess of bureaucracy.

Within the next 60 to 90 days, according to an MTA press release issued on Wednesday, the transportation authority will begin to overhaul and streamline their bus operations. Internally, this move is part of the MTA’s efforts at cutting down on its cumbersome bureaurcracy while at the same time improving service through cooperation and coordination.

The MTA’s release has more:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced plans to begin integrating the operations of its three bus companies to create the more seamless and efficient Regional Bus Operations. New York City Transit Bus, MTA Bus and Long Island Bus will each maintain its individual identity and funding, while a managerial restructuring will increase accountability and ensure consistency in serving the entire MTA region.

“By streamlining the management of our bus companies we will eliminate redundancies, improve efficiency and service, and save money,” said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. “This initiative builds on the early success of our subway general manager program, and we will continue to identify and implement ways to become more efficient and improve service for our customers. Unifying bus operations is also a big first step toward creating a truly regional transportation network and is a critical part of our institutional transformation agenda.”

Over the next few months, the MTA will focus on internal restructuring. The agency plans to, among other measures, implement an integrated bus command center that provides a single point of contact for emergencies. These measures will also help the agency prioritize many internal needs — such as emergency shuttle buses — as well.

While a bureaucratic restructuring is all well and good for those of us interesting in the behind-the-scenes minutiae of the MTA, these changes will also affect services levels for the better. According to the MTA, they agency will be able to better coordinate regional bus service. Resources will be centralized; schedules will be available in one place on the Internet, for example. And more importantly, this consolidation should allow for better and more comprehensive bus service throughout the region.

Now if only the city would really take the bull by the horns and implement a dedicated Bus Rapid Transit system. That will be the day to truly celebrate the city’s bus service.

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Kid Twist May 8, 2008 - 9:47 am

Whatever happened to MaBSTOA?

Kevin May 8, 2008 - 10:57 pm

That still exists internally. Adds to the bureaucratic mess within the TA. Hopefully they find a way to get rid of that as well.

At least someone wants to do something about all these redundancies in the system.

ScottE May 8, 2008 - 1:12 pm

I remember when MTA Bus took over the express buses, some people complained that the somewhat-comfortable commuter buses they were accustomed to (cloth seats; two forward-facing seats on each side of the aisle in each row) were sometimes replaced by city buses (fewer seats, all center-facing along the sides of the bus; two sets of doors).

Lets hope they don’t start mixing buses. Nobody wants to have to stand on an express bus, and nobody wants to force their way down a narrow aisle to get off of a local, city bus.

Cap'n Transit May 9, 2008 - 9:13 am

They already mix the buses sometimes. There are a few longer-distance “express” type buses running on the Q32, which is definitely a local route.

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