Federal transit officials have cited the MTA Bus Co., made up of the formerly private bus lines serving much of Queens, for dramatically increasing ridership.
Anthony Carr, the Federal Transit Administration regional administrator, praised the bus line at the monthly meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board June 24.
Carr said the MTA Bus ridership rose 18 percent between 2006 and 2007 by improving scheduling efficiency and reducing the average age of buses from 13.5 years to under five years.
The MTA Bus Co. carries a daily average of 400,000 riders.
At the time of the MTA takeover of the private lines, Queens residents accounted for nearly 300,000 of the riders.
The MTA Bus Co. was one of 10 bus companies nationwide cited for improving ridership.
The company was established in September 2004 by consolidating seven privately owned bus companies — Command Bus, Triboro Coach, Jamaica Buses, Green Bus Lines, Liberty, Queens Surface and New York — that operated under independent franchises granted by the city Department of Transportation.The merger of the private bus companies began in January 2005 and was completed in February 2006, creating the 10th-largest bus company in the United States.
Service by the seven private firms had deteriorated for years, bringing complaints about longer waits and extreme overcrowding, sometimes resulting in fights among riders, stranded passengers after breakdowns and overall unpleasant conditions.
“While the award highlights gains during its first two years of service, it’s important to note that MTA Bus provided 20 million more rides in 2008 than its predecessors provided in 2004,” said MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger. “It goes to show that improved service and new equipment can go a long way toward increasing customer demand.”
Joseph Smith, the MTA Bus Co. president, said, “I’m delighted to receive this award on behalf of all of the hardworking employees of the MTA Bus Co., who strive to provide safe and efficient service to our customers every day. Their dedication and commitment to improving service were instrumental to the ridership gains we achieved.”
The company now operates 45 local bus routes in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens and 35 express routes between Manhattan and the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens with a fleet of 1,323 buses.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledge
©2009 Community News Group
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