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The slowest bus in the city wouldn’t even beat a manatee in a race

Written by
Jillian Anthony

It’s not just the subway that terrorizes New Yorkers daily; the public bus system has its own set of very special frustrations and delays. And the slowest bus in the city was given an official award Tuesday.

The Straphangers Campaign, a public transit-user advocacy group, brought back its "Pokey" and "Schleppie" awards to formally recognize the slowest and most screwed-up bus routes NYC has to offer, according to NY1. The information on crawling bus routes comes from the MTA's Bus Time data. And the winner of the most sluggish bus of the year is... the M42! Congratulations to all involved!

The M42, which runs across 42nd Street, runs at an average speed of 3.2mph. That's "slower than a chicken, which runs at up to nine miles an hour," says Straphangers Campaign member Jaqi Cohen. It's also slower than:
-Turtles, which can go as fast as 20mph in water
-Cows, which can run 25mph
-Manatees—basically cows suspended in water—which manage about 5mph
-The brisk pace most New Yorkers walk at
-The slowest racers at a 5K race
-The line at Trader Joe's

This is the fifth time since the awards' conception 15 years ago that the M42 has won the "Pokey" distinction. That's one slow bus! The "Schleppie" award went to Brooklyn's B12, which has 21.4% of its buses running bunched, more than any other in the city. "It's that phenomenon of when you wait forever for a bus to show up and two to three show up at the same time," Cohen told NY1.

The point of the awards is to highlight problem areas with public transportation, says the Straphangers Campaign. Some of their goals include more enforcement of bus-only lanes as well as signals to give buses priority on the road. A report from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's office last year found that the bus system has lost 100 million riders since 2008. Still, about 2 million people ride MTA buses on any given weekday.

The MTA issues a statement in response: "Improving bus service is the focus of the first major reform plan Transit President Andy Byford announced since starting the job this year.  His comprehensive Bus Plan prioritizes completely redesigning the entire bus network in collaboration with NYCDOT and the NYPD, who are critical partners we need to unclog traffic and allow us to deliver the world-class service that New Yorkers deserve and that our fleet and personnel are capable of delivering. The Bus Plan is well under way – a completely new Staten Island Express Bus network launches on August 19, and we’ve already begun working with NYPD to improve enforcement." 

We'll believe it when we see it! Sounds pretty similar to what Governor Cuomo said when he declared a state of emergency for the subway system, and yet, a year later, not much has changed!

Want to see how your bus ranks? Check out the Bus Turnaround bus report card project.

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