Four hundred local bus stops in the Bronx will be cut as part of a major system redesign, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Tuesday. The large reduction is an attempt to speed up travel times by moving bus stops further apart, from an average of 882 feet to 1,092 feet between them. The new plan also brings two new local routes and an express route to the borough, providing commuters better peak-hour service between north Bronx and Midtown.
The MTA and the Partnership for New York City have announced the second round of the Transit Tech Lab accelerator program that launched earlier this year. The inaugural run selected six finalists to participate in an eight-week program dedicated to developing innovative, private sector solutions for the challenges facing our subway, bus, and rail services. Of those six, four companies have already started piloting their products with the MTA. The new round of submissions is specifically seeking entrepreneurs with products that improve accessibility (a major component of the MTA’s recently unveiled capital plan), enhance traffic coordination, or create new sources of revenue. Submissions are open through November 30.
A 109-year-old swing bridge will no longer be the bain of commuters’ existence. The United States Coast Guard agreed last week to permanently restrict when boats can pass under the Portal Bridge, which carries about 200,000 passengers daily to and from Penn Station via New Jersey Transit and Amtrak. The 1910 bridge’s aging mechanics frequently malfunction while opening and closing for maritime traffic, causing hourslong delays, felt especially during rush hour.
Since the 1990s, the Regional Plan Association has been advocating for the restoration of passenger service to a rail line that runs from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Ridgewood, Queens and is now used as a freight line. Known as the Bay Ridge Branch, the line is owned by the Long Island Railroad, but at the end of the year, the MTA hopes to begin a study to determine if this idea is feasible. The RPA’s Kate Slevin explained to NY1, “We don’t have unlimited resources here in New York City, as we know, so the fact that we already have tracks there, that are underutilized, really means a lot.”
In June, Governor Cuomo advocated for an MTA task force that would specifically address issues related to subway speeds. After an initial analysis, the Speed and Safety Task Force found that subways in 2019 were running slower than they did 20 years ago due in large part to a flawed signal system and deficient posting of speed limits. Using that information, the Task Force released this week its preliminary findings, which note that “train speeds could be increased by as much as 50 percent” if these issues are fixed.
A group of transportation experts released a new report yesterday identifying a simple way to improve bus service: space bus stops farther apart. While frequent bus riders have likely already identified this as a frustrating problem, the advocates found that 32 pairs of bus stops throughout the five boroughs are within 260 feet of one another—even though the MTA’s own guidelines stipulate stops should be at least 750 feet apart and international standards suggest 1,000 feet or more. As part of their new report, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign decided to bestow the worst culprits with a cheeky “Cozy Award,” as Gothamist first reported.
Photos by Marc Hermann, Courtesy of the New York Transit Museum
New York Yankee fans headed to the Bronx this weekend can get to the stadium on trains that were in service during Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth’s tenure with the team. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will run an express vintage 1917 Lo-V train on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5 from Grand Central to 161st Street, kicking off the Yankees’ postseason run in historic fashion.
As of today, New Yorkers who want to get to JFK Airport as quickly as possible can do so via a private helicopter ride. In an email sent out to customers today, Uber Technologies announced the full launch of Uber Copter, a helicopter that you can book via the app that will take you from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport to JFK for $200-$225. The program opened on July 9th, but now any Uber member can book a chopper on weekday afternoons between 1pm and 6pm. Though you’ll need to get to/from the heliport in lower Manhattan and your terminal, the flight itself is only eight minutes.
Image © 6sqft
A majority of New York City Ferry riders are white and wealthy, the Daily News reported on Monday. According to a survey conducted by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which operates the ferry system alongside Hornblower, more than 60 percent of NYC Ferry riders are white with an average annual income between $75,000 and $99,000. In March, a study from the Citizens Budget Commission found the NYC Ferry costs the city $10.73 per rider, about 10 times that of subway subsidies.
Image of the Hyperloop pod at a test site in Las Vegas; courtesy of Virgin Hyperloop
Over the past few months, Virgin Hyperloop One has been bringing its XP-1 test Pod on a cross-country roadshow, allowing residents in cities that may adopt the technology to learn more about the project and its progress. They made a stop at Rockefeller Plaza last Friday, as the New York Post reported, giving visitors a glimpse inside the 20-foot vessel that may one day get passengers from NYC to Washington DC in just 30 minutes.