Jump to content

Centro (Central New York RTA)


RailBus63
 Share

Recommended Posts

Syracuse.com is reporting that Rep. Katko is pushing for $15M federal funding for the James St-South Ave brt lite route. I'm all for this expansion and hope the funding comes through.

The article ambigously mentions travels times would improve from 40mins to 16-18mins. I'm assuming they're referring to the the travel time from Eastwood/E. Syr or OCC to the Hub. The sad part is, if Centro stopped heavily padding their schedules so that buses "line up" downtown, they can get those better travel times tomorrow and for free. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, orionbuslover said:

Syracuse.com is reporting that Rep. Katko is pushing for $15M federal funding for the James St-South Ave brt lite route. I'm all for this expansion and hope the funding comes through.

The article ambigously mentions travels times would improve from 40mins to 16-18mins. I'm assuming they're referring to the the travel time from Eastwood/E. Syr or OCC to the Hub. The sad part is, if Centro stopped heavily padding their schedules so that buses "line up" downtown, they can get those better travel times tomorrow and for free. 

What would help first and foremost would be more funding to operate more service on the key trunk routes.  Most of the current 123 James Street-Walmart schedules are far from padded - it's often a challenge to make the lineup because of the constant stops.  Running 20-minute 'frequent service' core network would eliminate the need to wait for lineups, which could then be held for the longer routes only.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

What would help first and foremost would be more funding to operate more service on the key trunk routes.  Most of the current 123 James Street-Walmart schedules are far from padded - it's often a challenge to make the lineup because of the constant stops.  Running 20-minute 'frequent service' core network would eliminate the need to wait for lineups, which could then be held for the longer routes only.  

My point is Centro could operate more service, without more funding, if it tightened up its schedules. I would agree the James St-E. Syr schedule, which is longer and has heavy ridership, isn't padded and might need more time. But, that's the downside of a pure "pulse/line-up" system. The routes with the longest cycles (due to heavy ridership or distance) lock the other routes to have matching long cycles. All so buses meet downtown at the same time. You can see this with the long layover of buses at Valley Plaza/Nedrow, Shop City, Western Lights, Dewitt etc. The padding in those schedules camouflages long layovers, but they exist. When layovers are almost equal to or even half the time of the in-service travel time of trips, that is indicative of inefficiency. 

Centro could easily tighten up its padded schedules and use one of the many, shorter James St variants to meet buses downtown every 20mins tomorrow if it wanted to. Now, if they want to get back to 10min midday routes like they used to have, then more funding will be needed.

Edit: 20min service isn't frequent. It's a basic level of service that I think riders should have access to that actually encourages the use of public transit. The industry standard of frequent service is 15mins and that's just barely scratching the surface. Unless, the service is clock-face based, you'll still need to consult a schedule for 15min service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, orionbuslover said:

Edit: 20min service isn't frequent. It's a basic level of service that I think riders should have access to that actually encourages the use of public transit. The industry standard of frequent service is 15mins and that's just barely scratching the surface. Unless, the service is clock-face based, you'll still need to consult a schedule for 15min service.

Baby steps - I know it wouldn't be considered frequent in larger cities, but it would be plenty helpful in Syracuse and build support for more and better transit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, orionbuslover said:

But, that's the downside of a pure "pulse/line-up" system. The routes with the longest cycles (due to heavy ridership or distance) lock the other routes to have matching long cycles.

Totally agree.

I don't know much about the Centro network -- other than that it's really complicated. Like, they seriously need to simplify the routes, variations and designations.

To succeed, a system of this size must decide what it wants to be: a "small-leaning" system where everything is shoehorned into a pulse/line-up -- or a "large-leaning" system, where downtown transfers aren't the sole force driving everything else.

I've seen systems that have clearly outgrown the small-town model, but haven't figured out how to evolve.

Hope that Centro can evaluate the pros-and-cons. It may mean sacrificing certain "traditional" conveniences (line-ups) in order to gain a whole host of other improvements (frequency, ease-of-navigation, ability to travel without always going through downtown...)

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Border City Transit said:

I've seen systems that have clearly outgrown the small-town model, but haven't figured out how to evolve.

Hope that Centro can evaluate the pros-and-cons. It may mean sacrificing certain "traditional" conveniences (line-ups) in order to gain a whole host of other improvements (frequency, ease-of-navigation, ability to travel without always going through downtown...)

Syracuse, in general, hasn't figured out how to evolve as a city. And it affects all facets of life there.

The pros you listed clearly outweigh having a timed transfer downtown. But, Centro's leaders have always maintained they can't improve the system without more funding. That's simply not true. CDTA in Albany did just that 10 years ago with their restructure and they now have many routes that offer 10min service all day long(a few even got down to 7/8mins before COVID). RTS in Rochester will launch their budget neutral restructure with 15min routes later this month. Many other American cities have done the same over the past decade. If the leaders wanted to do something innovative, I'm not sure what's stopping them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 7/9/2021 at 4:35 PM, RailBus63 said:

MCI's 669, 670, 671 (1996 buses) and 681 (2001) are being auctioned off. 

At least I was able to get photos of the three 1996 units:

Cent669.thumb.JPG.9798cea8453d303030290cb84da5961b.JPG

Cent670.thumb.JPG.53105f5a3c4697dd48ecaa215f8158e1.JPG

Cent670a.thumb.JPG.53218f7bace3d6920db6829dfd0505d7.JPG

Cent670b.thumb.JPG.daab1ae52011d714ea4807676ea32ca3.JPG

Cent671a.thumb.JPG.a459c671577df69e32d65d6d2d2541ed.JPG

The photos of 670 were taken in 2003 while the photos of 669 and 671 were taken in 2011.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Centro will institute an "enhanced Saturday" schedule beginning 9/13 due to its driver shortage. New schedules aren't out yet, but school trips will stay and SU campus shuttles will end at 8PM.

With ridership being down, I guess this isn't the worst move. Hopefully, the service becomes more reliable.

It really speaks volumes to the times we're living through, dealing with the pandemic. Being a city bus driver has always been a tough gig due to both internal and external factors. Even before the pandemic, you had to have a true passion for the job to make a career out of it. For others, it was just a way to pay the bills. But now, people are clearly saying the pay isn't worth it.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, RailBus63 said:

Orion VII #1210 severely damaged after being struck by a van that had run a red light attempting to escape the police.  Details in the linked article.

https://www.syracuse.com/crime/2021/09/geddes-police-had-been-chasing-van-for-speeding-before-it-crashed-into-centro-bus.html

Seems like being the New York Orion 7 3Gs are having some serious bad luck lately. On a side note, this crash is very similar to the 2011 crash of MTA Long Island bus 2011 Orion 7.501 NG CNG #1804, almost to a tee!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/9/2021 at 3:08 PM, RailBus63 said:

Orion VII #1210 severely damaged after being struck by a van that had run a red light attempting to escape the police.  Details in the linked article.

https://www.syracuse.com/crime/2021/09/geddes-police-had-been-chasing-van-for-speeding-before-it-crashed-into-centro-bus.html

Over the last year there has been a big increase with reckless driving, and as we all know buses are big easy to hit targets. The van driver is lucky to be alive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CENTRO has eliminated some routes and the rest of the Syracuse routes will run on an enhanced Saturday schedule due to a driver shortage

https://cnycentral.com/news/local/struggling-to-hire-drivers-centro-cuts-seven-bus-routes-leaving-riders-scrambling

 

Its a unfortunate industry problem, but Saturday service on CENTRO is absolute garbage. I feel bad for anyone relying on the bus in Syracuse.

Liverpool is getting completely clobbered with NO service on route 46, while the corridor between RTC and Downtown is still saturated with multiple buses running at the same time. 

Why are they still running route 50 when they are abandoning neighborhoods

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

Its a unfortunate industry problem, but Saturday service on CENTRO is absolute garbage. I feel bad for anyone relying on the bus in Syracuse.

Liverpool is getting completely clobbered with NO service on route 46, while the corridor between RTC and Downtown is still saturated with multiple buses running at the same time. 

Why are they still running route 50 when they are abandoning neighborhoods

While it is a nationwide, industry problem, I'm not aware of any other agency that has had to make such drastic cuts to address their driver shortage. I'm aware of several agencies that are apparently staffed well enough, that they restored Covid related service cuts with their recent Fall service changes. 

One local article reports Centro needs 190 drivers to operate normal weekday service and needs to hire roughly 60 drivers to be in the clear. The alarm bells should've been ringing loud and non-stop way before they were short 30% of their needed manpower. Increased pay and sign-on bonuses need to be a real consideration at this point. Otherwise, service won't realistically be restored this year.   

And, when service is restored, Centro will still operate roughly half the service of CDTA in Albany for the SAME price: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/upstate-transportation-authorities-suffer-revenue-plunge. Centro's structural inefficiency/incompetence really is glaring; not hard to miss at all. The lack of concern from both community and elected leaders on this issue and so many other issues that affect life in Syracuse, really makes me wonder if there's anybody actually steering the ship?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

One local article reports Centro needs 190 drivers to operate normal weekday service and needs to hire roughly 60 drivers to be in the clear. The alarm bells should've been ringing loud and non-stop way before they were short 30% of their needed manpower. Increased pay and sign-on bonuses need to be a real consideration at this point. Otherwise, service won't realistically be restored this year.   

They were complaining about the lack of operators during this years State Fair. I think they were down 56 operators during the State Fair

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

And, when service is restored, Centro will still operate roughly half the service of CDTA in Albany for the SAME price: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/upstate-transportation-authorities-suffer-revenue-plunge. Centro's structural inefficiency/incompetence really is glaring; not hard to miss at all. The lack of concern from both community and elected leaders on this issue and so many other issues that affect life in Syracuse, really makes me wonder if there's anybody actually steering the ship?

CENTRO provided terrible infrequent service even during a regular weekday. Routes usually ran on average every 40 minutes, with a couple of trip added in between this gap with no consistencies at all. Ex: Leaving the hub at 7:10, 7:20, 7:50

It always amaze me how good Albany and Rochester has it despite having the equal budget. Rochester has service every 30 minutes/60 minutes during weekends. Don't get me started with BusPlus service. People say its not "real BRT" but the service it provide is great. 

If Buffalo has service every 80 minutes for the entire city for 7 days a week, I can bet you that elected officials will be called and there would be a lot of complaints

Is CENTRO really this irrelevant to everyday Syracuse's life that everyone just takes it? It really seems like nobody cares. CENTRO mentioned that these service changes are temporary, but regular riders can't just "temporarily suspend" going to work. 

Furthermore adding salt to the injury, there will still be two buses leaving the hub at the same time serving RTC/Destiny USA, while Rt 57 in Liverpool has no service

1 hour ago, orionbuslover said:

And, when service is restored, Centro will still operate roughly half the service of CDTA in Albany for the SAME price

There are also significant amount of overlap in CENTRO's network thanks to its pulse operation. (James Street) so the actual service provided to neighborhood is even less.

CENTRO could find a way to better integrate its service with Syracuse University's service. Its amazing how segregated the service is (hence why most SU students could care less about CENTRO). In Ithaca, the service is much better integrated.  Maybe SU can help pay for the 40? 

I suggested to CENTRO today to eliminate service on some routes to attempt to save some service to outlaying communities. 

(Not familiar with the demographics, going strictly by map/walking distances) I would eliminate the following route 

50 RTC- Destiny USA- Downtown

76/176 Salt Springs Rd (with some service added to the 62)

80 Grant Blvd with the 52 rerouted 52 reroute

Terminating all Liverpool/Central Square at RTC with a timed transfer to the 16

These changes are probably not enough with 60 vacancies but it should be enough so no neighborhoods will completely lose service. The way CENTRO just cut everything back to a Saturday schedule shows that they don't plan on changing or reimagining changing their network anytime soon

I think its time for CENTRO/City of Syracuse to think about what it wants for its network. Right now CENTRO seems to be content with the status quo of sending everything into Downtown at the same time. Albany took a hard look, Rochester took a hard look, I think Syracuse should too.

The only thing between 2000 CENTRO and 2021 CENTRO is reduced service span and reduced service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

They were complaining about the lack of operators during this years State Fair. I think they were down 56 operators during the State Fair

In business, management needs to do way more than complain about their constraints/hardships. Especially, if the issue is a dwindling workforce.

 

7 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

CENTRO provided terrible infrequent service even during a regular weekday. Routes usually ran on average every 40 minutes, with a couple of trip added in between this gap with no consistencies at all. Ex: Leaving the hub at 7:10, 7:20, 7:50.

 

The "busy" routes run every 40min midday, but many routes run every 80mins. With all routes running 80mins after 6PM. When they can't fill all the runs on any particular route, there could easily be a 1hr20min or 2hr40min wait for the next bus. I originally posted on here about the issue before the "enhanced" schedules came out and was operating under the assumption some level of service would operate on all routes and reliability would improve. Now I know that's not the case.

7 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

Is CENTRO really this irrelevant to everyday Syracuse's life that everyone just takes it? It really seems like nobody cares. CENTRO mentioned that these service changes are temporary, but regular riders can't just "temporarily suspend" going to work. 

The decisions that Centro has made over the years have caused them to become irrelevant. Centro leader's haven't changed their thinking to keep up with the times, but that's Syracuse in general. Being a rust belt city, in decline for so long, a lot of people there don't think they should have nice things. 

I was there for the Fair this year, and driving on 81 & 690, I realized how outdated and substandard those roads really are. Syracuse deserves to have an interstate system built to modern standards and if the viaduct has to come down as part of the upgrade, then so be it.

It's disconcerting because Syracuse is a high poverty city and a quality public transit system would improve the quality of life for so many people. Instead, for many people no matter their income, having a car is a necessity in Syracuse. Let's not even get into the fact that one must travel to the outskirts of town or suburbs for a decent grocery store, Walmart, or Target.

7 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

There are also significant amount of overlap in CENTRO's network thanks to its pulse operation. (James Street) so the actual service provided to neighborhood is even less.

CENTRO could find a way to better integrate its service with Syracuse University's service. Its amazing how segregated the service is (hence why most SU students could care less about CENTRO). In Ithaca, the service is much better integrated.  Maybe SU can help pay for the 40? 

I'll be fair to Centro and admit that a lot of the duplication is due to the geography and the built environment of Syracuse. The main streets all pretty much lead downtown, so it's only natural Centro runs parallel routes that overlap closer to downtown. But there's nothing stopping Centro from introducing more direct/crosstown routes in the city.

The real inefficiency comes from the obsession with the line-up. Forcing all the buses to arrive downtown at the same time inherently causes inefficiency due to the long layovers needed for the routes to sync up downtown. I've had several friends and family members drive for Centro over the years. I've seen their paddles. A 20min layover after a 25min in-service trip is ridiculous. That heavy padding of the schedules is literally pouring money down the drain, as drivers (the biggest cost) get paid whether they're driving or sitting around doing nothing. All in the name of being back downtown at some arbitrary time.

Centro could provide immensely more in-service trips if it tightened up its schedules and gets rid of the line-ups. That's how CDTA vehicles are able to travel almost double the annual vehicle miles for the same budget as Centro. If someone has to transfer downtown and wait for their next bus, atleast there's a transit center to wait at nowadays.

7 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

CENTRO could find a way to better integrate its service with Syracuse University's service. Its amazing how segregated the service is (hence why most SU students could care less about CENTRO). In Ithaca, the service is much better integrated.  Maybe SU can help pay for the 40? 

I suggested to CENTRO today to eliminate service on some routes to attempt to save some service to outlaying communities. 

(Not familiar with the demographics, going strictly by map/walking distances) I would eliminate the following route 

50 RTC- Destiny USA- Downtown

76/176 Salt Springs Rd (with some service added to the 62)

80 Grant Blvd with the 52 rerouted 52 reroute

Terminating all Liverpool/Central Square at RTC with a timed transfer to the 16

SU pays full price for their routes. And the shuttles only exist to address their bonehead decision to build South Campus in the first place. So, if SU wants to shell out that money for shuttles, I can't really complain. 

50 -  It's an express bus to the mall that saves like 5-7mins over the N Salina bus. Moving those resources to another route that lost service is the right move.

76 - serves Lemoyne College and a low income housing complex located across the street. It makes more sense to continue to serve those populations then the more affluent population near E Genesee in the city and suburbs who really don't ride the bus anyway.

52/80 - The northside of Syracuse has always been where immigrants coming to Syracuse land. For the last 20+ years, refugees from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa have called the northside home. On a map those routes look duplicative, but they are both very much needed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/14/2021 at 12:02 PM, orionbuslover said:

In business, management needs to do way more than complain about their constraints/hardships. Especially, if the issue is a dwindling workforce.

 

The "busy" routes run every 40min midday, but many routes run every 80mins. With all routes running 80mins after 6PM. When they can't fill all the runs on any particular route, there could easily be a 1hr20min or 2hr40min wait for the next bus. I originally posted on here about the issue before the "enhanced" schedules came out and was operating under the assumption some level of service would operate on all routes and reliability would improve. Now I know that's not the case.

The decisions that Centro has made over the years have caused them to become irrelevant. Centro leader's haven't changed their thinking to keep up with the times, but that's Syracuse in general. Being a rust belt city, in decline for so long, a lot of people there don't think they should have nice things. 

I was there for the Fair this year, and driving on 81 & 690, I realized how outdated and substandard those roads really are. Syracuse deserves to have an interstate system built to modern standards and if the viaduct has to come down as part of the upgrade, then so be it.

It's disconcerting because Syracuse is a high poverty city and a quality public transit system would improve the quality of life for so many people. Instead, for many people no matter their income, having a car is a necessity in Syracuse. Let's not even get into the fact that one must travel to the outskirts of town or suburbs for a decent grocery store, Walmart, or Target.

I'll be fair to Centro and admit that a lot of the duplication is due to the geography and the built environment of Syracuse. The main streets all pretty much lead downtown, so it's only natural Centro runs parallel routes that overlap closer to downtown. But there's nothing stopping Centro from introducing more direct/crosstown routes in the city.

The real inefficiency comes from the obsession with the line-up. Forcing all the buses to arrive downtown at the same time inherently causes inefficiency due to the long layovers needed for the routes to sync up downtown. I've had several friends and family members drive for Centro over the years. I've seen their paddles. A 20min layover after a 25min in-service trip is ridiculous. That heavy padding of the schedules is literally pouring money down the drain, as drivers (the biggest cost) get paid whether they're driving or sitting around doing nothing. All in the name of being back downtown at some arbitrary time.

Centro could provide immensely more in-service trips if it tightened up its schedules and gets rid of the line-ups. That's how CDTA vehicles are able to travel almost double the annual vehicle miles for the same budget as Centro. If someone has to transfer downtown and wait for their next bus, atleast there's a transit center to wait at nowadays.

SU pays full price for their routes. And the shuttles only exist to address their bonehead decision to build South Campus in the first place. So, if SU wants to shell out that money for shuttles, I can't really complain. 

50 -  It's an express bus to the mall that saves like 5-7mins over the N Salina bus. Moving those resources to another route that lost service is the right move.

76 - serves Lemoyne College and a low income housing complex located across the street. It makes more sense to continue to serve those populations then the more affluent population near E Genesee in the city and suburbs who really don't ride the bus anyway.

52/80 - The northside of Syracuse has always been where immigrants coming to Syracuse land. For the last 20+ years, refugees from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa have called the northside home. On a map those routes look duplicative, but they are both very much needed. 

And I thought NICE bus was bad in the headway department lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...