If you ride the B61 bus, you know . But, a few local elected officials have pushed hard for improvements, after a study found it to be late over 50 percent of the time, and one more is coming on Sunday.
The latest improvement on the bus line is the installation of BusTime, which uses GPS devices which riders can access from their cell phones or computers to find out where the next bus on the route actually is, will come to the B61 bus on Sunday, July 1.
The B61’s newest addition will be the second BusTime system in Brooklyn and was .
The MTA first implemented this system in 2011 on the B63 bus, which runs along Fifth and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, as well as lines in Staten Island.
The B61 bus’ improvements started in December, when Councilman Brad Lander, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilwoman Sara González unveiled a new study which examined the bus’ gross inefficiencies named: “.”
The study found that the B61 bus only arrived on schedule 43 percent of the time (meaning the bus arrived either three minutes before or after the intended time), that it was more than three minutes late 27 percent of the time and 30 percent of the time “bus bunching” occurs, which means multiple buses come to a single station at once.
The report also laid out nine cost-effective ways to improve the bus line to help riders connect to subway lines and commute to work faster. The report was commissioned in response to persistent constituent complaints about the line, which have increased with the closure of the Smith-9th Street subway station and the cancellation and merging of five bus lines in 2010.
Lander, who has been instrumental in making the bus more punctual, said Sunday will be a great day:
“BusTime is a great step forward for B61 bus riders, who are looking for more reliable bus service,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “The MTA has brought BusTime to the B61 at our urging and I look forward to taking further steps to making the line a great bus for the neighborhoods it serves.”
Other improvements that Lander has helped usher in since the report in December are:
- More frequent buses in the p.m. rush hour, increasing the average headway from ten to nine minutes.
- More reliable service at all hours resulting from an increase in the amount of time the bus has to make the run and to recover at the end of the route and a change in the location of the bus driver shift from the middle of the line to the end of the line.
But, Lander also said the improvements won’t stop with BusTime. His next goals in improving the often-tardy bus will be more frequent bus service and “countdown clocks” at bus stops, similar to those currently in use in some subway stations.
A man standing at the B61 bus stop on Ninth Street at Fourth Avenue said he is looking forward to tracking the bus on his phone before he leaves the house.
“It’s always late, this way I can know exactly how much time I have and can wait on my couch, instead of on the street corner,” Tim Collins said, who lives in Park Slope and takes the B61 everyday.
What do you think? Are you excited for BusTime on the B61? Let us know in the comments!