Home Buses On airport-bound buses, new luggage racks

On airport-bound buses, new luggage racks

by Benjamin Kabak

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New luggage racks are coming to seven airport-bound bus routes. (Photo courtesy of New York City Transit)

As urban airports go, New York City’s are generally transit-accessible. Subway lines to JFK’s Airtrain lead to 50-minute rides from midtown Manhattan, and although no subway heads directly to LaGuardia Airport, the M60 is a popular route for those flying out of the city’s soon-to-be 70-year-old commercial airport.

And yet, despite this transit-oriented approach to air travel, it is remarkably inconvenient to take a suitcase on public transportation. Have you tried lugging a giant wheeling suitcase on the subway, let alone the M60? It is a royal hassle.

Today, at the end of a semi-three-day weekend during which many New Yorkers travel, New York City Transit has unveiled a pilot program to equip airport-bound buses with luggage racks. The new racks, shown above, “should make for a more comfortable ride for passengers carrying luggage onboard while providing more room for everyone,” says the agency’s press release. No longer will suitcases block the narrow bus aisles. Instead, a good six bags can be stored on these luggage racks leading to more space and freer aisles.

Although the convenience of these racks is nearly indisputable, MTA plans a trial run and slow roll-out on seven airport-bound bus lines. The first luggage rack went into service today on the M60, and the rack is located across from the bus’ rear exit door.

“We believe that the racks will be a great amenity, making things more comfortable for our customers and even helping our bus operators speed their trips. We are going to have our managers out monitoring these buses, asking our customers and bus operators if they are seeing an improvement,” Joseph Smith, the Department of Buses’ senior V.P., said. “If the results are positive, we will expand the installation of the racks to other buses on these routes.”

For now, look for the customer-focused initiative to pop up on the M60, B15, Q3, Q10, Q33, Q48 and Q72 routes. Ten buses total will be outfitted with these luggage racks, and it won’t be long before taking the bus to airport is even easier than it is today.

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AlexB October 12, 2009 - 4:15 pm

Are you kidding? JFK has good access and Newark has decent access (good if they extended the PATH the airport station), but the M60 to LaGuardia is truly the least they could do. There should be an express bus from midtown to LaGuardia. Almost every other city in the country has some sort of fast bus connection to the city center, or at least to a nearby rail station, or even just a local bus to the city center. We have a half hour, local bus to neighborhoods (Flushing, Jackson Hts, Harlem), where you are still many stops from midtown.

Benjamin Kabak October 12, 2009 - 4:19 pm

I said “generally,” not “good.” You can take the bus and/or subway to the airports. That’s a step up from many other cities’ airport offerings even if New York’s leave much to be desired.

Veritas October 12, 2009 - 4:27 pm

There are privately-run express buses that run directly between LaGuardia and midtown (the stops are near Grand Central and Penn Station). The last time I took it was about $12 and 25 minutes each way. It’s not a bad ride, I think.

Alon Levy October 14, 2009 - 9:53 pm

Are those express buses advertised anywhere at the airport, or near the relevant stations? No. So it’s a service for people who check express bus service online, not for either visitors or most residents.

Alon Levy October 12, 2009 - 8:15 pm

If you think New York’s airports are “generally transit-accessible,” then which airports do you think are not accessible?

I mean, O’Hare has an L station on airport grounds. Heathrow has Underground stations at the terminals. Charles de Gaulle has a station for both the RER and the TGV. Narita is served by multiple commuter lines, including a premium express service straight to Tokyo. Frankfurt has a station for both the S-Bahn and the ICE; its rail access modal share is 28%, JFK’s is only 11%.

Benjamin Kabak October 12, 2009 - 9:14 pm

I’m not saying those airports are not accessible. I’m not sure what your point is here, Alon. Great. London has an Underground stop. But it takes longer and costs more to go from Heathrow to Liverpool than it does to go from JFK to Penn Station.

New York’s airports could use more transit, and we should have high-speed rail to the airport. But it’s not terrible. That’s all.

Alon Levy October 14, 2009 - 9:00 pm

You don’t need high-speed rail to get to an airport, unless it’s really far away. You just need decent local rail. LaGuardia has nothing; when the city wanted to extend the N/W there, the local neighborhood groups screamed at it. Newark has a multi-transfer connection, which dumps you at Penn Station, away from your hotel. The closest thing to a decent airport-transit connection is the AirTrain to the E at JFK, which offers decent access for people who don’t mind lugging suitcases up multiple flights of stairs.

herenthere October 13, 2009 - 11:49 am

I’ve never taken a ride on an airport bus, but I think they might actually need more of those racks b/c in other cities, they really do come in handy.

Streetsblog New York City » Today’s Headlines October 13, 2009 - 3:11 pm

[…] Program Seeks to Make a Bus Ride to La Guardia More Appealing (City Room, SAS, […]

Chemster October 14, 2009 - 9:51 am

I think that the racks will help… but things will probably still be crowded on the M60 during prime air travel seasons. I actually rode on one of the new M60s for a few blocks on Monday (put my groceries on the rack, woo hoo), but it wasn’t a real test because I was at the start of the route.


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