The Q58 may have been ranked the slowest bus route in Queens for the second year in the row, but it’s a relative Ferrarri compared to the 2011 winner of the Straphangers Campaign’s annual Pokey Award.
The public transport advocacy group named Manhattan’s M50 the slowest local bus route in New York City, as it runs crosstown on 49th and 50th Streets between First and 12th avenues at 3.5 mph, just under the average human walking speed of 3.6 mph. Comparatively, the Q58 averages 7.2 mph between Ridgewood and Flushing’s Main Street.
“You can push a lawnmower faster crosstown than it takes the M50 to go from First to 12th Avenue,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group’s Straphangers Campaign, noting that a human-powered mower can go 4 mph.
Other buses in Queens among the 35 routes across the city that the campaign included, based on ridership and past performance, are the Q44 limited, which travels from Jamaica to the Bronx, and the Q27, which travels from Flushing and Cambria Heights. The Q44 limited service bus had an average speed of 9.1 mph, while the Q27 outpaced it at 9.7 mph.
The Straphangers Campaign also awarded its sixth-annual Schleppie to the city’s least reliable bus. That title went to the M101/M102/M103, which runs on Third and Lexington Avenues between upper and lower Manhattan. More than one in four buses arrived with big gaps in service or bunched together in the first half of 2011, the advocates found, determining the route to be 27.3 percent unreliable. And the M101/M102/103 is no stranger to the Schleppie, also receiving one in 2008.
No route in Queens qualified for a Schleppie award because none was reported to have at least 20 percent of its buses bunched together or have big enough gaps between planned arrival times and and actual times.
“No Queens bus was irregular enough to win a Schleppie,” Russianoff said.
The city and the MTA have implemented two Select Bus Service routes in an attempt to provide faster service by collecting fares before boarding and providing buses with three doors and lower floors to speed up the process. But neither is in Queens.
The two routes, the M15, which runs on First and Second Avenues between lower Manhattan and Harlem, and the Bx12, which runs on Pelham Parkway and Fordham Road between Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, have shown great potential, the agency says. The SBS on the M15 increased bus speeds by nearly 43 percent, while the SBS on the Bx12 raised them by more than 51 percent over the Bx12 local.