Meeting Minutes December 21, 2017



MINUTES OF Thursday, December 21, 2017

A meeting of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) was convened at 12:00 noon on December 21, 2017 in the 20th Floor Board Room at 2 Broadway, New York

The following members were present:

Andrew Albert                       Sharon King Hoge

Stuart Goldstein                   Trudy Mason

Christopher Greif                 Marisol Halpern

William K. Guild                   Burton M. Strauss, Jr.

The following members were absent:

Scott Nicholls

In addition, the following persons were present:

William Henderson  PCAC Executive Director

Bradley Brashears  PCAC Planning Manager

Karyl Cafiero  PCAC Research Associate

Shaun Wong  PCAC Intern

Cordell Rogers  NYCT

David Burrowes  NYCT

Stephanie Bogerd  MTA

William Stanford, Jr.  Concerned citizen

Eric Wollman  Concerned citizen

Matt Shotkin  Concerned citizen

Michael Howard  Concerned citizen

Time Point  
Video Part 1
00:03 Approval of Agenda

The agenda for the December 21, 2017 meeting were approved.

00:11 Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the November 16, 2017 meeting were approved as amended.

00:27 Chair’s Report (The Chair’s Report is attached to minutes.)
07:38 Board Report
07:50 Fifty-two percent reduction in major incidents as part of the Subway Action Plan (SAP) for the month of November.
08:45 There will be a stretching out of the SAP if the City does not put their funding ($4.25-4.5 million) into the plan.
10:12 The Board did vote for Long Island Rail Road’s Third Track.
11:49 There are still a lot of unknowns about East Side Access (ESA) and when Amtrak is going to do planned East River tunnel work.
12:15 E. Prentiss: Inquires about a second track going beyond the Third Track Project because of long waits going either West or East depending on the time of day.
13:52 S. Goldstein: Did the Board talk about the topic of declining ridership?

A. Albert: The loss of ridership is occurring on the weekends and in the shoulder of the peak hours, but rush-hour has not declined.

14:47 A. Albert: Discussion of increased use of car services (i.e. Uber), and hopes of the State Legislature passing a per-ride fee that would help fund the MTA, which they are currently not paying.
15:21 E. Prentiss: Expresses concern that only able-bodied people can use car services and others who rely on accessible cars cannot.
18:28 C. Greif: During L line shutdown – once the bus comes over the Williamsburg Bridge will it be making local J, M, and the Z stops and at Marcy Ave.?

W. Henderson: The route hasn’t been finalized but the idea is to have the buses shadow the subway stops and planners are concerned about Marcy Ave. and overloading at other stations.

21:40 W. Henderson: The idea is to have shuttle buses make their travel loops in no more than 25 minutes.
22:08 T. Mason: Countdown clocks on the 6 train say 12 minutes, 18 minutes, and then a train appears out of the blue. Then the time is adjusted to 2 minutes and two trains come through and do not stop.
25:20 A.Albert: As part of the SAP, in order to increase capacity on the C line R46s are being run to accommodate more people.
26:05 A.Albert: Late March, early-April there will be full implementation of CBTC on the 7 line, however the countdown clocks should be live by the end of this year, including countdown clocks for all B Division lines.
29:17 Old Business
29:20 E. Prentiss: Buses going up Madison Avenue – bus only went to 168th Street and there were no number 4 buses. Raises issue of sidewalk shed and garbage blocking the bus stop at 86th Street & Madison Avenue. Bus cannot pull into the stop. There should be more equity in bus distribution/frequency.

A.Albert: We should find out from Transit what are drivers told to accommodate when a construction shed is built blocking bus/passenger access.

33:30 A.Albert: If a bus is not going its entire route, it should be indicated somehow on Bus Time. We will ask about this as well.
34:28 C. Greif: Waiting time for buses is way too long, i.e. Avenue U buses. Can have a 45 minute wait time for the B82 bus serving Spring Creek Towers. This also happens on the B6 limited.

W. Henderson: Notes that this can be caused by the buses’ recovery time. Contractual break time may cause buses to not be turned around immediately.

38:20 A.Albert: There will be some out of system transfers because of the L line shutdown.
39:05 T. Mason: The M15 SBS stop between 78th Street and 79th Street –  bus does not pull into the stop, cab is blocking the stop, bus operator doesn’t let anyone on or off, and then pulls up so everyone on the street has to run to catch the bus.
42:00 T. Mason: Attended a press conference with Congress member Maloney calling for federal funding for Second Avenue Subway Phase 2. “Penny for Progress Act” federal gas tax that would be dedicated to infrastructure investments ($420 million annually).
44:52 E. Prentiss: The closeness of local and SBS stops on 2nd Avenue is from the community’s demands. If a bus is in the stop the other buses often fly by not stopping for passengers.
52:41 K. Stewart: No bus stop announcements. NYC Transit has to comply with federal regulations – when was the most recent survey conducted regarding this issue, results?

W. Henderson: These surveys are done either quarterly or semi-annually. Usually recorded in the NYCT Committee books.

53:39 E. Prentiss: There should be a requirement of when bus operators are supposed to make stop announcements.
56:16 Introduction of speakers: Cordell Rogers, Deputy General Manager, NYC Transit Department of Buses to discuss bus service management strategies.
57:27 C. Rogers: Discussion of bus service adjustment protocols. I.e. bus bunching, reroutes, buses running ahead of schedule, operator swaps, running headways, pull-out reliefs, temporary shuttles, subway outages (bus bridges), wildcats, etc…
1:03:45 Electronic tally/booking sheets made managing service easier.

Now supervisors are equipped with iPads and track performance to make improvements.

1:11:57 A.Albert: Does the iPad bus tracker show the ultimate destination for a bus – the end of the line?

C. Rogers: No, if there was an adjustment made it will show in the notifications tab in case bus operator could not hear the bus adjustment announcement.

1:14:57 T. Mason: To whom and what is the communication given during a bus service adjustment? Is the bus operator’s perspective considered?

C. Rogers: Two-fold, it is communicated to the operator, and communicated to the supervisor to look at the bigger picture of the route. The perspective of the bus operator is taken into consideration.

1:18:30 D. Burrowes: Before we make an adjustment we look at when the next bus would be to see if an adjustment is necessary.
1:19:04 A.Albert: Does this system have the ability to key into the onboard camera if one exists?

C. Rogers: We do not currently have this capability, but are moving towards that.

1:26:18 S. Goldstein: How is the information populated – who determines what information will be on the screen for the operator to see regarding destination information? Is this done manually?

C. Rogers: Operators log on, and then the system is populated.

1:29:48 S. Goldstein: How do you look at the data holistically? If the driver does not enter the information how do you see it?

C. Rogers: If the operator does not enter the information, they can still see where the bus is. The bus can always be located. Data reports are generated and reviewed daily.

1:31:18 A.Albert: If a bus is short-turned, but the driver does not change the destination, Bus Time reads it the way it was, correct?

C. Rogers: That is correct.

1:32:14 T. Mason: To follow-up with what Stewart said, do you know if the destination sign has been changed?

C. Rogers: We are not able to see the sign change.

1:35:15 C. Greif: Problems with express buses. Buses using and not using HOV lanes. Are there problems with express buses running from Manhattan to Brooklyn? There’s been a lot of complaints.

D. Burrowes: There were problems with all the buses using the HOV lanes, largely because of restricted vehicles using the lanes.

1:37:10 A.Albert: Is your map able to show a bus using or not using an HOV lane?

D. Burrowes: Yes.

1:37:48 There has been problems with local buses wait times. I.e. the B82 you sometimes have to wait 35-45 minutes.

S. Bogerd: These buses are running better than before (X27, X28, X37, X38 express buses) and she has heard no complaints. If this happens they need to hear about it, because she is not seeing it. The B82 accommodates school passengers.

1:40:50 B. Strauss: Do you have a way of getting reroute information to riders quickly?

C. Rogers: They send mobiles to do a sweep, and to post information. They also do city-wide notifications and those go onto the website. Unfortunately, they do not have a direct means of getting this information to sight-impaired persons.

1:42:50 T. Mason: There was poor communication to customers during bus reroutes between 79th Street and 96th Street. People were waiting for twenty minutes with no information.

C. Rogers: This information is available on the website but not on Bus Time.

1:45:45 E Prentiss: When there are bus diversions, often riders are required to walk long distances. There is poor communication and no signage.

A: MTA alerts and City notifications give service alerts.

1:51:11 A.Albert: When a bus is not going to its final destination and you pull it up on Bus Time, is there any way to indicate that the bus is not going all the way on the route ? This is misleading.

C. Rogers: They do not have this capability now, but he will speak with the bus technology group to see if it is a possibility.

1:54:33 S. Goldstein: Not pleased with today’s speaker.
1:58:50 Adjourned

Meeting Video: Video 1 of 1

Action Items:

  • We should find out from Transit what are drivers told to accommodate when a construction shed is built blocking bus/passenger access.
  •  If a bus is not going its entire route, it should be indicated somehow on Bus Time. We will ask about this as well.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

William Henderson

Executive Director