To listeners of The Brian Lehrer Show:
When MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot G. Sander was on the program last week, there were a few questions that he couldn't immediately answer and wanted to get back in touch to provide answers. We hope these are helpful, and look forward to doing the show again soon.
Q: What does the MTA tell bus operators regarding passengers exiting from the rear? Do we have any plans to reduce the number of people exiting from the front door?
A: To speed the process of boarding customers, bus operators are trained to make announcements reminding customers that they should 'please use the rear door for exiting'. Also, most buses have prominently displayed signs in the front of the bus that remind customers to move to the rear, keep the front platform clear and use the center door to exit. In addition, the Bus Command Center plans to make periodic announcements through the bus radio system to remind passengers to exit through the rear doors.
However, bus operators are not allowed to refuse customers who want to use the front door for exiting. In fact, many customers use the front door to exit for legitimate reasons such as handicapped and elderly customers who sit in priority seating near the front of the bus, and customers who wish to use the front door kneeling feature which lowers the bus for easier exiting.
In addition, during snow and ice accumulations bus operators may exercise discretion in using front door only operation. During front door only operation, bus operators board and discharge customers using the front door only when it is unsafe for customers to exit the rear door.
Q: Does the MTA have any plans to reduce the noise created by bus brakes?
A: Prior to the mid-1980's New York City Transit buses were equipped with asbestos brake linings that did not make noise. In the mid-1980s, New York City Transit discontinued the use of asbestos for health and environmental reasons, and currently use only non-asbestos brake linings. Unfortunately, as these brake linings begin to wear, they tend to screech. Buses that operate in traffic conditions where frequent starting and stopping occur tend to have noisier brakes. While the noise can be considered annoying, it does not indicate a malfunctioning brake. This brake noise cannot be eliminated by increased or improved maintenance. However, New York City Transit continues to working closely with brake manufacturers to develop non-asbestos linings that meet our operating requirements and are quieter as they wear.
Q: How come some 'guide-a-ride' schedule listings at bus stops have fallen to the ground or are in disrepair,
specifically at 125/8th Avenue, 145th/B'way on the M19 eastbound, and on the 125th St. crosstown service.
A: The fallen guide-a-ride signs at 125/8th uptown, 145th/B'way on the M19 eastbound have been fixed as of July 10.
Our Operations Planning Department is also looking into the reported absence of signage on 125th Street crosstown service. Please note that beyond Broadway, it is possible that the Bx15 on 125th Street may not have Guide-A-Rides on the westbound side, as typically none are installed at the last three stops of a route.
Q: What is the MTA doing to 'green' the fleet of buses acquired by the MTA from the city, which now makes up the MTA Bus Company?
A: Upon acquisition of the fleet, which included many old, high-pollutant buses, we moved immediately to create the greenest possible fleet. To date, we have 150 diesel-electric hybrid buses in service, with another 134 on the way. We also have 301 compressed natural gas buses on the roads. The remainder of the fleet, 854 buses, has been upgraded to run on Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel. We are committed to making this fleet even greener, and make progress each month.