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A New Look for New York's buses

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This is actually kind of old news as the first new bus was unveiled last year, but now that a new batch started coming in last month, more people are noticing...

 

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First Look at the MTA's New Fleet of Tech-Friendly Buses

Get a peek inside the new buses, equipped with USB charging ports and Wi-Fi

Back in March, the MTA and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the agency would implement a new fleet of buses that come equipped with tech-friendly upgrades—Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and USB charging ports—in an effort to bring the transit service into the 21st century. (And in an effort to make it impossible to use "but I was commuting!" as an excuse for why you didn't respond to someone's email, but we digress.)

 

At a press conference yesterday, those buses were officially unveiled, with a new color scheme (yellow and blue, as opposed to the current white and blue), a slightly tweaked design, and those technological innovations.

In a statement, Governor Cuomo said, "we are reimagining the MTA for the 21st century and creating a transit system that will meet the needs of the next generation of New Yorkers." 

 

But, for better or worse, these changes are coming: more than 2,000 will be rolled out over the next five years, with more than 40 percent of the current fleet expected to be replaced. For the first phase, 75 will be added to the MTA's current rotation in Queens, with seven of those hitting the streets as of yesterday. (And if you end up on one, we want to hear about it.)
 
 

The paint scheme it is replacing is a variation of the basic blue and white that's been around since the 1980's. The new buses also have free WiFi on board and USB charging ports.

 

First, here is the paint scheme being phased out:

34256749571_737c3af544_b.jpg

 

And here's the new one:

33539395943_c0241ca07c_b.jpg

 

I'd be interested to see what you think about it. Is it an improvement? A downgrade?

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I think they're a huge improvement. They look really modern and I'm sure the WiFi and USB ports are much welcome.

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The new look is appropriate for a tour bus, not for a useful part of the mass transit system.  (I can already hear the snarky comments to the effect that buses in New York are not useful.  In Manhattan that is true to some extent; but in the other boroughs, New York City's bus system is robust and highly dependable.)

So for me this new paint scheme is a downgrade.

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Upgrade, I hope MCTS does this too! 

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It's better, I see no reason why the side of a bus has to be boring. The MTA uses blue and yellow, right? I think my MetroCard from the time I got stuck in New York is yellow.

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Renderings for the next generation of subway cars also incorporate the same colors:

R211_Exterior_Design.jpg

 

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17 minutes ago, Waffles said:

Renderings for the next generation of subway cars also incorporate the same colors:

R211_Exterior_Design.jpg

 

 

 

The problem isn't the colours; it's how the colours are used.  These subway cars have the same colours as the buses, but in a more dignified and serious-looking pattern, more befitting transit.

 

By the way, one very nice thing about the lead car in this train design is the return of the coloured line symbol, which had been lost to the LCD letter display on the front of the current cars.

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Major waste of taxpayer money. The buses look fine now. Are  they the fanciest thing in the world? No, but they're serviceable, they're clean looking, and they're a staple of the city at this point. It's a way to get from Point A to Point B cheaply without needing to walk or drive.

 

Would having charging ports be a nice thing? Yeah, sure (although they're often broken on the express bus, and they'll always be taken). WiFi would be great until it gets slowed down because people are using it for downloads and Netflix on their commutes.

 

In conclusion, waste of my tax dollars. This is why I'm running for City Council this year.

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On 5/19/2017 at 2:39 PM, Waffles said:

Renderings for the next generation of subway cars also incorporate the same colors:

R211_Exterior_Design.jpg

 

 

I'd prefer blue and orange, the colors of the city.   Blue and gold are the colors of the state, which is why the MTA as a state agency uses them, but the MTA shouldn't be a state agency in the first place.  

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22 hours ago, Big Yellow Flag said:

Major waste of taxpayer money. The buses look fine now. Are  they the fanciest thing in the world? No, but they're serviceable, they're clean looking, and they're a staple of the city at this point. It's a way to get from Point A to Point B cheaply without needing to walk or drive.

 

They're not spending taxpayer dollars to paint old buses. The new color scheme is for new buses.  

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13 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

 

They're not spending taxpayer dollars to paint old buses. The new color scheme is for new buses.  

And, even if they were repainting buses in the new colors, it wouldn't cost anymore money than it already does, since buses typically have 3-4 repaints during their service life.

Heck the bus pictured in the old paint scheme was repainted.

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3 hours ago, Gothamite said:

 

I'd prefer blue and orange, the colors of the city.   Blue and gold are the colors of the state, which is why the MTA as a state agency uses them, but the MTA shouldn't be a state agency in the first place.  

 

Right.  It's tragic that New York City doesn't have unilateral control over its greatest and most essential feature.

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Are there any American cities with decently large public transit systems where the municipality is in control? I realize this is an imperfect comparison since almost all of said systems (that aren't NYC) also reach into inner suburbs.

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There's a pretty substantial difference between the county running the transportation system (which makes sense since most public transit systems extend into multiple cities) and the state running it.

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The MTA (or a cross-state agency) would bring value if it were to incorporate the existing NYCTA (Subway, Bus, and SIRR), the broader commuter rail network (Metro-North, LIRR, NJ Transit), and NJ-based transit (PATH, HBLR) into a consolidated network, with the MetroCard used on all systems. Something along the lines of the Paris RER and Metro, or Transport for London (which is under mayoral control, FWIW - not Parliamentary control). Instead, New York has a byzantine network of mass transit under three different agencies (MTA, NJT, PANYNJ), with disparate networks that don't cooperate with one another and aren't under a single fare system.

 

If there's not going to be a single regional transportation authority, the City should absolutely have control over the NYCTA. Instead, funding and oversight fall to an agency subject to the whims of a bunch of State Senators from Utica and Buffalo. (And there is nothing more byzantine or inefficient than the government up in Albany.)

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They look like buses in several other cities. It sounds like the Big Apple was behind the 8 ball on this one.

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On 5/23/2017 at 2:14 PM, Digby said:

Are there any American cities with decently large public transit systems where the municipality is in control? I realize this is an imperfect comparison since almost all of said systems (that aren't NYC) also reach into inner suburbs.

 

We have two agencies in the Phila region:  SEPTA (South Eastern PA Transit Authority) and PATCO (Port Authority Transit COmpany).  SEPTA (poorly) handles trolleys, buses, subways, regional rail, special senior transit, and (now) station upkeep,  PATCO handles the high-speed rail lines that go from underground to over the bridges into NJ, and connecting bus services to bridge SEPTA to NJTransit.  SEPTA also connects with NJTransit via regional rail trains that go into NJ.  Amtrak has a big presence as a daily commuter line as well (I take it most of the week for daily commuting.)

 

None of that is run by a municipality, though obviously the municipalities have a lot to say (everything except "yeah sure, here's some extra funding.") 

 

EDIT:

"SEPTA is one of only two U.S. transit authorities that operates all of the five major types of terrestrial transit vehicles: regional (commuter) rail trains, "heavy" rapid transit (subway/elevated) trains, light rail vehicles (trolleys), trolleybusses, and motorbusses; the other is Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which runs ferryboat service as well."  BBTV Note - there are ferry lines as well they're just run by Delaware River Waterfront Company rather than SEPTA or PATCO.

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On 5/23/2017 at 0:14 PM, Digby said:

Are there any American cities with decently large public transit systems where the municipality is in control? I realize this is an imperfect comparison since almost all of said systems (that aren't NYC) also reach into inner suburbs.

I'm pretty sure Portland, OR is in control of theirs due to the Metropolitian regionally elected government they have had in place since 1979. This has allowed Portland to have much better public transit than other similarly sized cities.

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2 hours ago, User9113 said:

I'm pretty sure Portland, OR is in control of theirs due to the Metropolitian regionally elected government they have had in place since 1979. This has allowed Portland to have much better public transit than other similarly sized cities.

 

According to your linked article TriMet (the Portland metro transit system) is a state-run agency, controlled by a board of directors appointed entirely by the governor. 

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