Straphangers Award “Pokeys” for Slowest Buses; M42, B63 Big Winners


The NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and Transportation Alternatives have announced their eighth annual Pokey Awards for the city’s slowest buses, and the surprise winner is the M42 that lumbers between the Javits Center and First Avenue on 42nd Street. By the sponsors’ calculations, the M42 achieves a ground speed of 3.7 mph, which they say would “lose a race with a five-year-old riding a motorized tricycle,” which we think is rather harsh, as the five-year-old would probably stop for ice cream.

The M42 beat out last year’s and inaugural winner the M96, which hurtles through Central Park between West 87th and East 96th. Manhattan has taken all the top Pokeys, with the M23 and M34 winning twice, and the M14A winning in 2006…

The borough’s slowest buses are the B63 (Brooklyn, between Fort Hamilton and Cobble Hill, 5.1 mph), the Bx19 (The Bronx, between Botanical Garden and Harlem, 4.9 mph), the Q56 (Queens, between Jamaica and East New York, 6.3 mph) and the S42 (Staten Island, between New Brighton and the Ferry, 10.6 mph).

The fastest bus was Staten Island’s S60, which connects Arlo Road and Milford Drive via Howard Avenue at a breathtaking 13.7 mph.

The Straphangers and TransAlt also gave their Schleppie for “the city’s least reliable bus” to the B44, which works Nostrand Avenue and of which “more than one in five… arrived bunched together or came with big gaps in
service” as the judges observed them. They awarded their first-ever “Trekkie” for the longest average running time to the M4, which will take you from Penn Station to Fort Tryon Park, or vice-versa, in one hour and 50 minutes — longer than it takes Amtrak to get from New York to Philadelphia.

Despite the fun ‘n’ games, the sponsors tell us that “changes in bus speeds since 2004 have generally been too minor to demonstrate significant trends.” So this is really just an opportunity for them to suggest improvements (they rather like tougher bus-lane compliance enforcement, pre-boarding fare payment, and bus stops “reconfigured” to speed boarding; we would suggest Japanese subway-style shovers), and for all of us to bitch, like we do about the Mets and high rents, neither of which anyone expects to improve.