In amNew York today, Theresa Juva speaks to some East Side bus riders who are frustrated with the Select Bus Service glitches. Riders at popular stops have found that the machines run out of paper too frequently, and the MTA’s technicians aren’t notified until the paper is out. Furthermore, the machines have been installed too close to the curb and facing the street, thus creating a safety hazard for those purchasing a trip. I’ve also received emails from riders who have found their cards demagnetized by the SBS fare dispensers. It is, in other words, a work in progress.
For its part, Transit officials say they’re troubleshooting the machines. The authority is working to upgrade software to clear paper jams and alert technicians as the paper for the receipts dwindles down. “A lot of times with new equipment you have to do improvements,” spokesman Charles Seaton said. Of course, this could all be avoided if SBS didn’t require something as clunky and 1900s as a paper receipt, but I digress. Ultimately, though, it’s worth remember that the East Side Select Bus Service is still a relatively new service that’s working as a high-volume model for the MTA’s and DOT’s future Select Bus Service plans. If the machines don’t work now, the authority can better plan for future SBS iterations. Some aspects of the improved bus service work better than other, but as the guinea pigs along 1st and 2nd Ave. have found, you can’t beat faster bus service.