All door boarding of busy city buses is standard in transit systems with modern fare payment technology. Oslo has had it since 2008 and San Francisco since 2012. The MetroCard and its readers are a quarter-century old and showing their age, in part by how slowly they permit riders to board buses and buses to get back on the road following boarding.
With the recent MTA announcement that a new, modern fare payment system will be put in place within the next five years, bus riders at the MTA board meeting were adamant that all door boarding must be designed into the new system from day one. Accordingly, speakers demanded that the MTA create a plan to permit all door boarding within the first half of 2018 and then implement that plan simultaneous with the roll out of the new fare payment system.
In light of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s recent report on the dismal state of the city’s bus system, which has slowed to a crawl and makes travel especially difficult for New York’s low income communities and communities of color, bus riders’ demand for the MTA to turn the system around is especially significant. 55% of bus riders are immigrants; 75% are New Yorkers of color.
City bus speeds trail those of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. New York is dead last for bus speed among the 17 largest bus systems in the US. New York’s bus ridership has fallen off along with speed, losing 100 million annual riders in the last eight years for which data are available. Buses carried just under 870 million riders in 2008 and just under 770 million in 2016.