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NFTA Board Meeting is tomorrow. It seems like the proposal is slightly different from those in Remix. (Could be that they were modified). These are the proposal submitted to the board

Some things to note,

 

Routing Changes

2B/C will have two variants, serving both Appletree and Transit Rd, with 2A continuing to only serve all stops up to City Line

8 Main Street will be extended to the Main/Bailey layover area

11 Raintree Island service will be kept. All 11A trips which currently ends at Paramount Loop will be extended to Boulevard Mall

12/13 will not be swapped, but 12 will no longer serve French/Kehr

40 service will be open door on Niagara Street

42 will serve the new Steel site in South Buffalo

44 will remain on its current routing with the Weinburg Campus deviation eliminated

47 will operate via Harlem Rd instead of South Union Rd

49 will service Hopkins Rd instead of Youngs Rd

67,68 Cleveland Hill/George Urban Express service eliminated

Potential Buffalo Bills Express from different parts of Buffalo, Darien Lake service may be restored

 

Frequency

No significant changes in frequency vs today. Some 40 minutes services are converted to 30 minutes services.

19L and 25L will operate all day on weekdays operating every 60!! minutes (which is a complete waste of resources) 

44 service will get weekend service every 120 minutes

There are significant frequency improvements for Niagara Fall Routes (which as they stand currently is useless outside of peak hours)

50 will operate every 80 minutes compared to every 90 today

52 will operate every 60 minutes on both Saturdays and new service will operate on Sunday every 60 minutes, vs every 120-180 minutes today

55 will operate every 70 minutes on weekends instead of every 90 

58 will operate 55 segments between NFTC and BOCCES every 120 minutes. This is also the first time service operated east of NF Airport on weekends

NFTA mentioned having pulse transfers at NF Transit Center and Portage Rd, but with this kind of variation in frequency, I can't seem to understand how it'll work

60,61,64,66 will all have three trips in each direction instead of the current 1-3 trips. Some neighborhood will have more direct service downtown than they do today

I have no idea why they are keeping the 60 even with the new 77 services. 

East Aurora and Orchard Park will keep their highway trips with 3 trips in each direction, up from 1 on the highway today and 1 on local roads

76 Lotus Bay will be renamed 76 Lake Shore and cut to only 4 trips in and out during the peak periods only. Coach USA continue to service this route in its entirely for a lower fare, however its not commuter orientated 

 

Fare Policy Change

New Fare Capping. Passengers will no longer pay more than a 31-day pass

Elimination of the 50 cent surcharge on 60 and 64 service

Implementation of a premium fare for Darien Lake and Bills Express Shuttle

 

Overall thoughts

It seems like passenger either prefer one scenario vs the other, or NFTA have already decided on what they wanted to do with the system already. Passengers prefer more frequent service, yet frequencies especially outside of peak periods are still extremely poor. I can't help but be disappointed, because I have expected major routes to get improvements during off-peak and weekends (like Rochester). Routes like the 3, 5, 19, 20 deserve to get more frequent service than the current 30/40 min headway they receive on weekends. NFTA themselves stated that peak ridership is down and is recovering slower after COVID, yet they continue to emphasize peak frequency while providing crap weekend headways

The way they are implementing the limited service is also completely nonsensical. It is how I suspected they would do it, hence why I didn't support it. All the time savings waiting for a limited service will be eaten up by the wait time. Converting these limited trips into local trips would do passengers much better. Car drivers (NFTA staff) prefer fewer travel times because they don't have to wait for their car in the rain/snow. Bus riders do!

Also, I don't believe NFTA should waste precious resources on transporting people to Darien Lake/Bills Games especially if they can't provide decent service to the people of Erie/Niagara County

The biggest winner here is the Niagara Falls routes. Currently, their weekend service is nonexistent other than the 40, even on their busiest Pine Avenue route. These changes will make things better than the status quo, but it's still a long way for transit to work for the city.

 

 

 

 

July 22, 2021 at 12_30 PM - Regular Board Meeting (1).pdf

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12 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

The way they are implementing the limited service is also completely nonsensical. It is how I suspected they would do it, hence why I didn't support it. All the time savings waiting for a limited service will be eaten up by the wait time. Converting these limited trips into local trips would do passengers much better. Car drivers (NFTA staff) prefer fewer travel times because they don't have to wait for their car in the rain/snow. Bus riders do!

I really want to hear the powers that be explain this version of limited service.

Nobody will delay their travel for 60mins just to potentially save a few minutes of travel time. The time savings on a limited stop route really is end to end; those traveling somewhere in between might not experience any time savings over the local route. This is a "it looks good on paper" style of planning; it looks good to say they have new crosstown limited stop service, but the service isn't actually improving at all.

If there's going to be an limited stop overlay of a route, run the local at reduced frequencies with the limited running at least every 15mins.

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12 hours ago, Rapidbus said:

NFTA Board Meeting is tomorrow. It seems like the proposal is slightly different from those in Remix. (Could be that they were modified). These are the proposal submitted to the board

Some things to note,

 

Routing Changes

...

40 service will be open door on Niagara Street

What is not being understood by them is the restricted area between Hertel (BRRTC) and the Downtown core.

I've seen post-COVID buses operating at capacity (or over) during the summer.  Once ridership gets near normal ridership, it's going to be a PITA for the driver that's got to explain that their passenger bound for the Falls will have to wait an hour longer for the next bus, because that's the next scheduled bus.  If they truly wanted to speed things up, make all buses operate the ridiculously numbered "77" express to the BRRTC via the Niagara Thruway.  In between-ers could take the Niagara Street bus to the BRRTC and transfer there.  How about a route "80", in which the buses from Downtown are "40-60-80"?  Previously used by the Outer Harbor Shuttle route, I don't see the confusion of reusing a number.

Created originally as an inter-city route, by Grand Island Transit, the route was never intended to be considered a local route of Buffalo passengers.  Not to forget to mention, a LOCAL bus will make the trip time that much longer (35 vs. 21 minutes).  Where's the time savings??

July 22, 2021 at 12_30 PM - Regular Board Meeting (1).pdf 4.32 MB · 3 downloads

 

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On 7/21/2021 at 10:41 PM, Rapidbus said:

Overall thoughts

It seems like passenger either prefer one scenario vs the other, or NFTA have already decided on what they wanted to do with the system already. Passengers prefer more frequent service, yet frequencies especially outside of peak periods are still extremely poor. I can't help but be disappointed, because I have expected major routes to get improvements during off-peak and weekends (like Rochester). Routes like the 3, 5, 19, 20 deserve to get more frequent service than the current 30/40 min headway they receive on weekends. NFTA themselves stated that peak ridership is down and is recovering slower after COVID, yet they continue to emphasize peak frequency while providing crap weekend headways

The way they are implementing the limited service is also completely nonsensical. It is how I suspected they would do it, hence why I didn't support it. All the time savings waiting for a limited service will be eaten up by the wait time. Converting these limited trips into local trips would do passengers much better. Car drivers (NFTA staff) prefer fewer travel times because they don't have to wait for their car in the rain/snow. Bus riders do!

Also, I don't believe NFTA should waste precious resources on transporting people to Darien Lake/Bills Games especially if they can't provide decent service to the people of Erie/Niagara County

The biggest winner here is the Niagara Falls routes. Currently, their weekend service is nonexistent other than the 40, even on their busiest Pine Avenue route. These changes will make things better than the status quo, but it's still a long way for transit to work for the city.

July 22, 2021 at 12_30 PM - Regular Board Meeting (1).pdf 4.32 MB · 6 downloads

I would think that more frequent service would speed up service a little as well. Taking a bus on a weekend, like on a route such as Elmwood is awful. Having more buses would definitely allow more flexibility for riders, but would also help improve on-time performance. Seems like buses are pretty full, and run late doing two buses worth of work. However, I think some of the challenges that exist would be needing more drivers, and buses for the weekends. I am surprised to read about the Bills Shuttles returning. And I 100% agree with your feelings on that.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/21/2021 at 10:41 PM, Rapidbus said:

NFTA Board Meeting is tomorrow. It seems like the proposal is slightly different from those in Remix. (Could be that they were modified). These are the proposal submitted to the board

Some things to note,

Routing Changes

8 Main Street will be extended to the Main/Bailey layover area

11 Raintree Island service will be kept. All 11A trips which currently ends at Paramount Loop will be extended to Boulevard Mall

40 service will be open door on Niagara Street

Frequency

There are significant frequency improvements for Niagara Fall Routes (which as they stand currently is useless outside of peak hours)

50 will operate every 80 minutes compared to every 90 today

52 will operate every 60 minutes on both Saturdays and new service will operate on Sunday every 60 minutes, vs every 120-180 minutes today

55 will operate every 70 minutes on weekends instead of every 90 

58 will operate 55 segments between NFTC and BOCCES every 120 minutes. This is also the first time service operated east of NF Airport on weekends

Fare Policy Change

New Fare Capping. Passengers will no longer pay more than a 31-day pass

Elimination of the 50 cent surcharge on 60 and 64 service

4.32 MB · 6 downloads

Route 8 used to go to Main and Bailey at times and was cut back to University Station all day in the past 10 or so years; having that extra option along the busy part of Main north of the station will be good. Extending route 11A up to Boulevard Mall is a great idea that will provide a faster alternative to get there, even if it is an infrequent route. A lot of people from Niagara Falls and Grand Island will squawk about the 40 going open door, but I can't see it having a huge impact on travel times and it will improve service along Niagara Street corridor significantly.

Niagara Falls headways have always been awful. These 10-20 minute adjustments don't seem like a lot, but making the service more appealing with predictable schedules will be a huge benefit to existing and prospective riders. As for the fare change, presumably they'll either be getting their smart card up and running by then (if they're still doing that) or this will just be for people who use Token Transit. Anything that would bring back bus-to-rail or bus-to-bus transfers without having to buy a day pass would be an improvement.

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14 hours ago, Orion 1200 said:

A lot of people from Niagara Falls and Grand Island will squawk about the 40 going open door, but I can't see it having a huge impact on travel times and it will improve service along Niagara Street corridor significantly.

I beg to differ on the operation of open door on Niagara Street.

At the present schedule, two buses leave Downtown on route 5 and 40 at 5:50pm.  Just outside of the rush-hour period, the #5 takes (as per schedule) between 5:50pm and 6:20pm to run between Downtown and the BRRTC.  It's companion bus on route 40 leaving at the same time is scheduled to arrive at 6:13pm, approximately seven minutes earlier.

If the Niagara Falls bus operates "ahead" of the Niagara Street along any portion of the route it will  be expected to take on passengers bound for points in the city, and begins the filling of that bus....a bus that will have passengers with luggage, will have passengers with children heading to Niagara Falls or Grand Island for Fantasy Island when it opens or to the Falls for sightseeing.  Add to this, not all buses are locals.  Buses will be spaced out an hour apart, which creates a very volatile situation for those wanting to go the full or further distance.  It's kind of the same reason that the Broadway bus USED to service as far north as Lochland and Elaine, south to Harlem and Cayuga Creek, east to Depew, Lancaster and Alden.  The buses were ridiculously loaded up, and there were a number of times that I had to wait for the next bus to Alden (30-40 minutes) because the bus arrived loaded at the Library with a good portion of the bus emptied out by Fillmore or Bailey, at the worst.  Prior to COVID, the 1-William was at capacity (standing only) all the way to Lovejoy, and there were instances where I had seen passengers passed by with 20-30 headways between buses.

Why the NFTA hasn't implemented the "Limited" bus for Niagara Street is baffling, especially after all the work that the City and NFTA had done to make it happen.  If they're wondering if non-English speaking passengers won't understand it, they *could* program multi-lingual "Limitada" or "Limitodo" next to "Limited" on the destination sign.

BTW, what ever happened to the schedules 3, 5 having a multi-lingual table?  They used to do it.  At present, the 40 is the only one.

The NFTA is lucky that they are not REQUIRED to offer multi-lingual services, like Canadian businesses having English AND French translation on everything.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/2/2021 at 7:39 AM, map.man (Darrin) said:

I beg to differ on the operation of open door on Niagara Street.

At the present schedule, two buses leave Downtown on route 5 and 40 at 5:50pm.  Just outside of the rush-hour period, the #5 takes (as per schedule) between 5:50pm and 6:20pm to run between Downtown and the BRRTC.  It's companion bus on route 40 leaving at the same time is scheduled to arrive at 6:13pm, approximately seven minutes earlier.

Why the NFTA hasn't implemented the "Limited" bus for Niagara Street is baffling, especially after all the work that the City and NFTA had done to make it happen.  If they're wondering if non-English speaking passengers won't understand it, they *could* program multi-lingual "Limitada" or "Limitodo" next to "Limited" on the destination sign.

BTW, what ever happened to the schedules 3, 5 having a multi-lingual table?  They used to do it.  At present, the 40 is the only one.

The NFTA is lucky that they are not REQUIRED to offer multi-lingual services, like Canadian businesses having English AND French translation on everything.

Just throwing my opinion the difference on paper usually doesn’t match the difference in real life. In NYC there are plenty of examples of a similar route structure to the 5 and 40 and their actual run times aren’t that much different from each other. I doubt the 40 would consistently run 7 minutes ahead every day. Most of the time it’d depend more on who’s driving the bus than what on the schedule, especially when the 5 and 40 share every stop along the way. Drivers will have to figure out at each stop if a passenger needs the 5 or the 40 which overall can and will slow everything down. Lastly In a city where I find most frequencies to be absolutely terrible having open door service will help more long run than hurt. 

However given your point about not having a limited service on Niagara Street I feel as the 40 would be a better option to run as a limited service there. That way the trips aren’t bogged down by drivers having to figure out which bus a passenger wants at every stop. 

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53 minutes ago, I Alam said:

However given your point about not having a limited service on Niagara Street I feel as the 40 would be a better option to run as a limited service there. That way the trips aren’t bogged down by drivers having to figure out which bus a passenger wants at every stop. 

Limited service is a good idea. I agree with map.man (Darrin) though. I use the 5-Niagara often. I feel it does fine on its own for every time I use it. In the past, Metro always put out there that they wanted to reduce duplicate service, which is what I think of this. Now some may not look at this as duplicate service and instead look at it as better frequency. But if the 5 isn't filling up to the point where riders are being left behind, I really don't see a point to this. Especially during the peak times. Does this also mean they are going to add another time on the schedule somewhere south of the Black Rock Riverside Hub? Back in 2015 they talked about having traffic signal preemption on Niagara St. I wonder whatever happened to that idea...

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On 8/10/2021 at 4:15 PM, edison said:

Limited service is a good idea. I agree with map.man (Darrin) though. I use the 5-Niagara often. I feel it does fine on its own for every time I use it. In the past, Metro always put out there that they wanted to reduce duplicate service, which is what I think of this. Now some may not look at this as duplicate service and instead look at it as better frequency. But if the 5 isn't filling up to the point where riders are being left behind, I really don't see a point to this. Especially during the peak times. Does this also mean they are going to add another time on the schedule somewhere south of the Black Rock Riverside Hub? Back in 2015 they talked about having traffic signal preemption on Niagara St. I wonder whatever happened to that idea...

It's interesting, since the Niagara Street corridor benefited from a lot of changes to the streetscape and signals in the preparation of BRT service or a similar type of service.  New (electric?) buses were supposed to be procured specific for this service.

Right now, the NFTA is operating a limited-stop service on the 24-Genesee, and is proposing the same for routes 19 and 25, too.

Could this be a rewrite of what the original plans were?

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10 hours ago, map.man (Darrin) said:

Could this be a rewrite of what the original plans were?

Could be. They seem to change direction a lot though. I feel like we give it another five years and they will be talking about something completely different than we are now. Which demand does change. The goal of the 2010 changes was to get buses with more riders them, cutting a lot of the later runs. The last Genesee used to leave downtown at 120am. The Delavan used to finish up after midnight. Not sure what is trying to be accomplished now... Are they responding to rider feedback? Trying to run more efficient? Or is there some new blood working there trying to improve the system? The possibilities seem endless being a grid system. It is a lot for me to take in...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Kind of off-topic, but relates to school services being offered by public transit providers in replacement of school bus carriers' inability to fill runs.

It's an interesting read, particularly since it's in our own state.

https://cnycentral.com/news/local/centro-school-bus-driver-shortage-could-prompt-activation-of-national-guard-in-new-york?fbclid=IwAR3VOF-GcYf7GfpzRVr39ZjiZDn2FLwzfoGjSN2ActtlD7YU4rnnCmfnxaI

 

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On 9/15/2021 at 3:04 PM, map.man (Darrin) said:

Kind of off-topic, but relates to school services being offered by public transit providers in replacement of school bus carriers' inability to fill runs.

It's an interesting read, particularly since it's in our own state.

https://cnycentral.com/news/local/centro-school-bus-driver-shortage-could-prompt-activation-of-national-guard-in-new-york?fbclid=IwAR3VOF-GcYf7GfpzRVr39ZjiZDn2FLwzfoGjSN2ActtlD7YU4rnnCmfnxaI

 

Interesting but both Buffalo and NYC have a system where school children can use existing public transport to get to and from school. I wonder if other places can solve this problem but shifting school bus drivers into transit and having students use transit. This way they can maximize space on existing buses and provide more service and coverage where needed. Everyone can benefit. 


Also just a note I’m only talking about middle and high school students. Primary school students should still have dedicated school buses. 

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6 hours ago, I Alam said:

Interesting but both Buffalo and NYC have a system where school children can use existing public transport to get to and from school. I wonder if other places can solve this problem but shifting school bus drivers into transit and having students use transit. This way they can maximize space on existing buses and provide more service and coverage where needed. Everyone can benefit. 


Also just a note I’m only talking about middle and high school students. Primary school students should still have dedicated school buses. 

The present way of doing things in Buffalo is somewhat broken, in my opinion.

Transit police and bus drivers do not have enough control of situations with fighting, swearing and general misbehavior on a number of buses, whether a school tripper or general transit service for the public.  I can't tell you how many times I've had students on buses "take over" and disrespect other passengers that are on these buses.  Some regular passengers have even gone to the point of remarking on social media that they are afraid of the students, and try to avoid dismissal times where the majority of passengers are students.

For years I relied on a school district to transport me on a bus (ONE bus) that I got to choose from daily.  If one got kicked off the bus for misbehavior there were three choices; walk, have the parent transport, or rely on a friend that has a license (and car).

With the COVID situation now, we also want to watch how "full" or "crush load" buses can get to.

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9 hours ago, I Alam said:

Interesting but both Buffalo and NYC have a system where school children can use existing public transport to get to and from school. I wonder if other places can solve this problem but shifting school bus drivers into transit and having students use transit. This way they can maximize space on existing buses and provide more service and coverage where needed. Everyone can benefit. 

I think most American transit system offers some type of extra service for students. In more robust systems, they can simply add an extra trip or two on routes that serve schools. In smaller, less comprehensive systems, you'll see a network of special transit routes that zigzag all over the city that start/end at the school. Some agencies have a mix of both approaches.

Either way, the driver shortage that's affecting both yellow bus companies and transit agencies won't simply be solved by shifting drivers from one employer to another. 

A very real limiting factor for both school districts that hire drivers directly and transit agencies is the background check. It's strigent. I know no public official will publicly admit this, but those willing to work part-time for roughly $15-20/hr., tend to have a greater chance of a checkered past that would disqualify them from employment.

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