Lest the reader think that we are solely preoccupied with esoteric, philosophical subjects, related to mankind and his interface with society, we have chosen for this writing, the inarguably, mundane subject of New York City buses. In common with most of our mini-essays, we prefer to refer to the relevant past history, prior to the expression of our thoughts concerning, the subject in its contemporary existence.
The word “bus” is, in reality, a contraction of the word, “omnibus,” meaning,” for everyone,” signifying the ability of anyone, without any previous reservation, to board as a fared passenger, at any designated point, along its fixed route. Buses are relatively large motor vehicles, capable of carrying many passengers, along their assigned route, during which there are dedicated stops.
The first “streetcars” in New York, (1830’s) were, actually, pulled by horses along rails, to various designated stops in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Research indicates, that, in addition to the usual logistical and mechanical problems, intrinsically inherent in such an enterprise, the signature problem was horse poop.
The horse-pulled street cars, were subsequently replaced by cable cars, (overhead sourced electricity) which, like its predecessor, traveled on street- level, rails to designated stops (“trolleys”). The next, succeeding, surface transit system, the fuel powered bus, replaced the electric-sourced street cars (trolleys”) very soon after, it is thought, largely due to the concerted public relations efforts of the fuel industry. The change, of course, was a true, paradigm shift, in City travel and commutation.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority, (“MTA”), we are informed, presently, operates a fleet of approximately, 6,000 buses in New York City, covering 322 routes. Regular fare is $2.75, payable with a “MetroCard,” or by exact change (in coins). They, conveniently, tend to service areas of the City, not located close to subway entrances.
We are pleased to note the following laudable features of City buses: lowered platform apparatus for the use of the disabled, kneeling buses for easier passenger entrance, a new system, consisting of outside payment of fare and the permitted use of multiple entrance doors, to avoid crowding, allocated seating section for the elderly and disabled, and, from time to time, announcement of streets and avenues, along the route; the latter, especially useful, when dark and on rain periods, when visibility of street signs are a challenge. We would suggest that such regular announcements be a feature of all buses, on all necessary occasions.
We do, however, wish to lodge, an especially vexing, complaint. We, and as informed, many other bus passengers, have experienced the great frequency of instances in which (usually aggravated by a cold, rainy or hot day), the wait for buses, is unreasonably long, late, and inconsistent with the posted schedule. After an uncomfortable wait, usually with an ever accumulating crowd of travelers, no less than two buses, will then arrive. This is hard to comprehend or forgive. The bus company, (presumably, its dispatchers) know, or should know, from many years of repeated experience, the normal, daily and hourly passenger demand, at any given bus stop. There are, indeed, many people who aptly perform, multiple, complex responsibilities as part of their employment; by contrast, this matter is childishly simple, and there would appear to be is no reasonable excuse for such ineptitude.
We truly appreciate the positive features of the City buses, enumerated above, and choose to remain, eternally optimistic, that a solution of the needless scheduling morass, will be found, in good time.