Increase SIM4C & SIM7 Service And Include Scheduled Spans & Frequency In Planning Process

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The MTA plans to implement a restructuring of the express bus network on August 19th, 2018. The goal of the restructuring is to create a faster, more efficient, more reliable system. While there are bound to be minor hiccups during the transition from the old system to the new system (and there are many controversial aspects of the redesign), there have been some major issues revealed during the final stage of the process: Writing the schedules that these new routes will run.

The full proposed schedules have been uploaded to Google Transit as of July 16th, 2018 (unfortunately, the MTA has not released them in the traditional PDF format directly on their website). I have posted the spans and frequencies on my blog: Looking at the schedules, there are several major issues that affect routes with no easy alternatives:

* A span reduction on the SIM7, as compared to the present-day X7 & X9 routes. This also affects X1 riders in the Greenwich Village/Union Square area traveling just before or just after rush hour.

* Inadequate frequencies on the SIM7.

* A lack of Watchogue Road-bound service in the early evening (the last SIM34 departs Worth Street at 7:00pm, while the next SIM3C doesn't arrive at Worth Street until 8:32pm)

* A lack of Gannon Avenue-bound service in the early evening (the last SIM32 departs Worth Street at 6:45pm, and the last SIM4 departs Worth Street at 7:15pm, while the next SIM4C doesn't arrive at Worth Street until 7:41pm). 

* Inadequate service on the SIM4C in general. The X17 presently runs every 12-15 minutes for much of the evening, while the SIM4C will operate every 30 minutes for much of the evening. In addition, the SIM4C will have to accommodate the X10's Gannon Avenue riders in addition to the X17's Richmond Avenue riders (and the last SIM2 will be from Worth Street at 8:15pm, so the SIM4C will still have to accommodate riders trying to connect to the S74, or otherwise make their way back to Arden Heights from the Eltingville Transit Center, so effectively it still has to accommodate some of the X17's Arden Heights riders anyway)

* A span reduction along Gannon Avenue on the SIM4C, compared to the present-day X10 (every day of the week, both weekdays and weekends).

* A span reduction for Arden Heights riders (weekend riders see their last bus approximately 1 hour later, while weekday riders see their last bus over 4 hours earlier!). This is especially significant because Arden Heights has limited local bus service. The S56 effectively stops running before 7:00pm (the last bus is at 6:49pm from the Eltingville Transit Center), so during the evenings, the X17 is the only form of public transportation in that area aside from the S74 and Staten Island Railway, which are almost 2 miles apart.

Throughout this whole process, riders have been cooperative with the MTA. We were told that by consolidating routes, it would result in more frequent service overall to compensate for the longer walking distances and increased numbers of riders transferring. For the majority of routes, service levels either remain the same or have decreases, and as mentioned above, some of these reductions are quite severe and show negligence in thoroughly analyzing the data on ridership patterns to put together an effective schedule. This network redesign was supposed to be the first step in a citywide redesign, with it being advertised as "passenger-led". We urge the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reevalulate the proposed schedules, and in the future, be more transparent with the exact proposals by releasing (at the minimum) the spans and frequencies on their proposed routes well in advance so that customers can comment on them in addition to the physical routings.

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