I’ve just sent off the following letter to elected officials and others regarding the M14A service:
What is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s purpose with regard to Bus Transportation? Is it to get the riding public from one convenient location to another or is it to move the buses from one location to another as quickly as possible? If the latter, you could just require paying passengers to mount the buses at the beginning stop and dismount at the last stop. Is that what the riding public is paying for?
As we all know the Manhattan population is aging and more people use buses because they can no longer navigate the stairs to and from the subway system. Elevators and escalators are not available at all stops. And some elevators and escalators remain in need of repair.
I came to live in the West Village in July of 1968 and used to walk and run everywhere. Now, being in my late 80s, having COPD and difficulty walking, I’m not appreciative of the cuts in the M14A bus service. I was told it was to make service faster. The MTA recently removed the M14A and D stop at 14th St. and 5th Ave. requiring me to walk a block back from University Place to the Amalgamted Bank at 5th Ave. In this instance the bus service has made my trip longer and slower.
Under your proposal to remove the Abingdon Sq. Loop the MTA suggests people take the M11, 12 or 20 to 14th St. and change buses. For persons with wheelchairs, walkers and canes this will mean holding up both the northbound bus and the M14 crosstown bus as conductors assist the passengers. Thus two buses will move more slowly.
The TA, quoted in The Villager, said, “It has been increasingly difficult to operate buses in Abingdon Sq. because of tight turns.” The “Articulating” buses have been making this turn for a number of years. Yes, there have been problems when a vehicle has parked illegally. This is not that often. The M12 makes the same turn daily. The M11 makes the very tight turn into Bethune and then again into Greenwich St.
The TA has also said they have received complaints about buses laying over in the Abingdon Sq. area. The buses I’ve seen laying over are parked anywhere from West 14th St. down Hudson St. to Abingdon Sq. and on 8th Ave. I’d only complain when they leave their engines running.
There are complaints of the M14 hemorrhaging ridership. It is assumed that this is based by the number of paying passengers and not on the number of people who are on the buses. Especially with the Articulating buses there are many who enter via back doors without paying their fare. Even when a driver sees this behavior they usually don’t speak out. That is understandable considering the abuse many drivers have received. They are bus drivers and not police officers. As you have put machines on the street for people to purchase tickets the buses will go faster. You will continue to have hemorrhaging ridership as people without tickets continue to board buses. This problem is throughout the bus and subway system. When prices are reasonable that problem may change.
You may find buses traveling faster if I take the M11 to West 14th St. and transfer to the M14 A or D and then transfer to the subway at 6th Ave. However it will cost twice as much as the present M14A transfer to the 6th Ave. subway.
Regarding the Lower East Side: Dropping stops from 2 blocks to 4 blocks is unkind. I used to visit a friend in a nursing home on the east side and it was a trip for me on the M14A. With this removal of stops it would mean fewer visits to those shut in.
Is the MTA’s purpose to serve the public or make speed records?
—Robert W. Smith