Bend It Like Brooklyn?

The double-jointed bus 

Washington’s “CarFree DC Day” was Tuesday, while I was in New York City, so here is a car-free scouting report from the Big apple. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is run by NY State, not New York City, and operates the regional transportation network of subways, suburban commuter rail, urban and suburban buses, bridges and tunnels, and transportation construction. Repeat: MTA is a state agency, so metro-NYC-area transit is well-coordinated. It is as if the Metropolitan Washington Area Council of Governments (COG) actually ran stuff and did not just plan, advise, and advocate Best Practices to competing and conflicting systems and constituencies, giving good advice nobody takes.

 Most of the MTA buses I saw in Manhattan were “articulated,” weird-looking 60-foot-long vehicles with bendable accordion sections in the middle. These buses hold twice as many passengers and can negotiate the small, twisting 18th century cow paths that pass for streets at the foot of Manhattan Island. 

MTA runs “Limited” buses that go from the most popular stops at one end of a route to the most popular stops on the way and at other end. While it feels a bit frustrating when a “Limited” bus passes your “local” stop, you are sure to get a seat on the next local bus. Of course, unlike WMATA, MTA has enough buses and drivers.

MTA Express buses run extra-long routes at rush hour for a $5 fare rather than the $2 flat rate on regular buses and the subway. Some Hudson and East River ferries are run by the NYC Department of Transportation and others by local companies, but all link into the larger rapid transit systems on both shores.

I hope everyone in Washington had a happy CarFree DC Day.

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