Is relief in sight? let’s not get our expectations too high but this is a good first step showing that Buses now register in the collective transportation conscience.
In response to angry commuters, the Port authority board just voted to fund a “Quality of Commute” improvement program at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at an estimated total program cost of $90 millions. The funds will be redirected in September from other projects in the capital plan.
While most of the repairs address the comfort of passengers inside the terminal, there are a few hints at progress on the street. See the full presentation here . Short term improvements include : Gate reassignment and optimization, Construct by-pass lane for buses from 10th Ave to the 4th floor, additional NY bus parking and staging areas (where???) , Investigate the addition of street level bus gates, XBL signal rehabilitation, and – my personal favorite – Install and develop a bus tracking system.
It is hard to believe that in a day and age when an Uber app knows where all the taxis are, neither NJT or the Port Authority know where 2,000 buses are. The drivers are left to their own device to find the best route to the terminal (a residential street) at the time they chose (three hours of idling) arriving pell-mell at the terminal. Fortunately air traffic controllers have shown the way and the same systems should work for buses.
For the medium term, the PA acknowledges that “Preliminary findings have determined that the construction of a bus staging and storage facility is crucial to any major long term development (location: Galvin Plaza)”. This is coming on the heels of the announcement that the Port Authrity has sold a parcel of land on 33rd Street to a developer and intent to use the $ 100 millions proceeds towards the funding of the bus staging facility. The PA has also requests $ 300 million in Federal funding to build the staging facility.
Still all transportation experts agree that the needs are on a different scale . Capital New York writes appropriately “WHERE (not what) is the big fix for the Port Authority Bus Terminal “. With the rezoning of Hell’s Kitchen and Hudson Yards for residential use and the dearth of land in this area, the only plausible solution will require going outside the box. Read the full article here.
But at least the right steps are being taken and the right people are talking about buses!