Queens residents explain how late bus services are affecting work and life – QNS.com
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The popular organization Riders Alliance has collected stories from bus passengers across New York City that detail the difficulties with the public transportation system.
The series “The bus driver’s bluesFeatures 50 stories claiming the unreliability and inaccessibility of the city’s bus system. Riders Alliance members toured the five boroughs to assess the issues on the ground.
Riders Alliance found that an extremely large number of cyclists were low-income people of color. According to the Riders Alliance, more than half are immigrants and more than a third of bikers are essential workers.
A woman from Jamaica said she was having problems with her boss because of the delayed buses.
âBefore the pandemic, I worked in Long Island City,â said Nianna R. âBack then the buses were unreliable and constantly delayed. It got so bad that my boss suspected I was late for other reasons and asked me to send screenshots of the Transit app to prove my bus was late. It also put me on probation and caused additional stress at work. I started to go to work much earlier to avoid being late. It was eating away the time I fell asleep, the time spent with family and leisure time. Just thinking about it makes me angry and stressful.
MTA chairman Janno Lieber echoed the concerns of these New Yorkers. Lieber then said it was unusual for an MTA chairman to support defenders protesting their own agency – however, he felt it necessary to share that he was also dissatisfied with bus services.
âWe have a lot of things that we need to do better,â Lieber said. âWe need priority for buses, and we need dedicated bus lanes. We need cars and trucks to stop blocking bus lanes. This is what will make the difference. I had been taking the bus since I was six years old. Buses are the engine of transport equity.
Lieber also said he was delighted to be working with the new mayor, Eric Adams.
The 50 stories included numerous testimonials from residents of Queens, many of whom are essential workers.
Antonia P. of Springfield Gardens said she often misses her children’s pick-up time when returning from her job as a vital worker.
âThe long commute and waiting time makes me miss my kids’ pickup time from school and regular delays at work,â said Antonia. âOne particular incident included a bus that never showed up. The missing bus meant the trip took about 45 minutes longer, so I showed up late for work. The city should focus more on improving buses in South East Queens. “
Last week on December 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the New York City street map alongside Department of Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman to develop the city’s bus, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Gutman said the plan would result in faster trips for bus passengers, reserve 150 miles of physical or camera-protected bus lanes and add benches and shelters at 2,500 bus stops. The proposal is said to build on de Blasio’s work of nearly doubling the city’s bus network. Even so, the bus riders are not happy.
Celine P., an occupational therapist at Jamaica Hospital, said bus drivers often pass her when cars park in front of the bus stop.
“Unless you risk your life to flag down the bus in the street, you might miss them.” This is happening more than ever before, âsaid CÃ©line. âEven in the lanes reserved for buses, there are cars. My journey is mentally exhausting. I think that besides just putting up signs saying “you are heroes”, the government has done nothing for essential workers. The biggest advantage was having free bus rides.
Another passenger who lives in southwest Queens said her bus regularly missed its stop and was often too crowded to board when she was waiting for the next one.
âBus Riders Bluesâ also highlighted the hidden costs of unreliable bus services.
Asma H. ââFrom Jamaica works at Bayside and takes the Q31 to work. But with staff shortages, her commute was delayed with long wait times.
âIt’s very hard on me financially because I show up late or have to pay more for extra child care,â Asma said.
Althea T., another Jamaican rider from Queens, said she wanted there to be a two-hour pass instead of one-hour transfers for $ 2.75.
âMy husband and I had to take three buses to get to work, and it costs $ 5.50 for each of us,â Althea said. âThis is frankly ridiculous, because why should runners be so wronged? “
After bringing all of these stories together, Riders Alliance called on the city to quickly implement the Streets plan to increase the number of lanes and dedicated bus lanes on city streets. They also suggest adopting policies aimed at reducing overall traffic.