Bay Ridge Express Bus Riders Discuss Congestion Pricing
StreetFilms joined up with Transportation Alternatives' Executive Director, Paul Steely White as he discussed congestion pricing with Express Bus commuters in Bay Ridge where riders could use a faster commute and less-crowded buses. White outlined how congestion pricing would decrease traffic in Bay Ridge and offer better transit as he listened to the commuters' concerns.
A poll released by Quinnpiac today reports that a resounding 89 percent of respondents believed traffic congestion was a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. However, New Yorkers are divided on how to accomplish reductions.
Speaker: [00:07] I’ve been taking the express bus for about four years now.
Speaker: [00:11] I take the express bus every morning.
Speaker: [00:12] Every morning.
Speaker: [00:13] Every morning.
Speaker: [00:14] Every morning, all the traffic on the BQE is horrendous. They’ve had the HOV lane and you weren’t on the bus it takes about a good hour and a half to get into the city.
Paul Steely White: [00:24] I’m Paul White, I’m with Transportation Alternatives. We’re a group that fights for better transit service for New Yorkers. We’re here talking to express bus riders about the congestion pricing plan, and here in Bay Ridge the plan would yield 23 additional express buses.
Speaker: [00:41] I think we need a lot more buses for a lot more people. I’m sure I’ll be standing or barely getting a seat on this bus.
Paul Steely White: [00:48] At this hour.
Speaker: [00:50] At this hour, yeah I’m sure.
Speaker: [00:52] Need to make sure that the MTA provides enough bus, subway service to accommodate people who are willing to take public transportation versus those who wish to drive.
Paul Steely White: [01:05] And if the congestion pricing revenue comes back to improving bus service you would support it?
Speaker: [01:09] Absolutely.
Speaker: [01:14] I live in Staten Island. The express buses are so horrible there, you can’t get off the Island. So I just actually got a ride here so I could get to work, you know, within a reasonable amount of time.
Paul Steely White: [01:22] So you have a friend drive you to this stop…
Speaker: [01:24] Right.
Paul Steely White: [01:24] …and drop you off so you can take an express bus?
Speaker: [01:26] Right, not all the time.
Paul Steely White: [01:27] The plan does include more express bus services for Staten Island, more express buses there.
Speaker: [01:31] Yeah, that’d be amazing. When you look in the cars there’s one person in every car.
Speaker: [01:37] Like I pay $10. Congestion pricing is $8 right now for cars. I pay $10 to get into and out of the city on a bus. Sometimes that bus isn’t on time, on schedule. Sometimes it takes me three times as long as it should. Like I don’t see what the problem is with other people paying for better service.
Speaker: [01:56] I believe the less cars the less pollution. I don’t think we need anymore cars coming into the city, there’s enough with the taxis alone.
Paul Steely White: [02:07] Most people we interviewed are supportive of congestion pricing if, and only if, that revenue comes back to Bay Ridge in some form. Most people were very supportive of the idea of adding 23 new express buses to Bay Ridge. People told us that they hate traffic, they’re very pro-transit. We also heard that the afternoon commute coming back from the city to Bay Ridge is very arduous.
Speaker: [02:32] By the time I get on the bus there’s no seats because there’s not enough buses running. Every time I stand on the bus I hurt myself. I once pulled someone’s hair because, by accident, because there was no handle on the bus, and the bus stopped short and it’s dangerous.
Speaker: [02:47] At the end of the day, towards like three o’clock, it’s very, very congested on the buses. All the traffic and stuff in the city, the buses come later. So maybe if they add a few more buses it would definitely ease the commute.
Use mass transit. We don’t want congestion.