Bus countdown clocks in the Bronx unveiled slowly but surely

The countdown clock at West 231st Street and Broadway was installed to track the Bx 7, Bx10, and the Bx20 buses.
Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Transportation

Three minutes, two minutes, one minute away.

This is what riders at two bus stops in Kingsbridge and Norwood can now expect.

The bus stop countdown clocks were unveiled at the corner of West 231st Street and Broadway and at Bedford Park Boulevard and Jerome Avenue on Friday, November 3 by Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez and Councilman Andrew Cohen.

These clocks run in real time and show the number of minutes commuters should expect to wait until the next buses arrive at these stops.

“We’ve chosen strategic bus stops that are very busy, where multiple lines go through,” Councilman Cohen, who also funded a total of $160,000 over two years for the project, explained. “There can be choke points where the buses stack up, where large gaps can occur… Concrete information as to when the bus is coming we think will take some of the stress out of commuting.”

Though these first installations have been hailed as a good step forward towards tackling the bus commuting issues in the Bronx, elected officials, grassroots organizations, and riders alike know there is still more work to be done.

“Commuting is just such a toll, people spend so much of their time commuting that anything that makes it a little better, makes it a little more predictable I think is a meaningful improvement,” Cohen added. “Don’t get me wrong, my constituents aren’t saying, “bus service is great, we love it” but it’s just a little better than it was.”

The Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization advocating for public transit improvements, has helped lead the campaign for these bus countdown clocks citywide.

Their campaign, which started in 2014, received fiscal backing by local councilmembers in 2015. Two years later, these clocks are finally being set up a few at a time.

“That is why they are coming out in certain sections,” Stephanie Burgos-Veras, a community organizer for the Riders Alliance, explained. “It depends which council members (provide) the funding.”

Cohen’s council district can expect six more clock installations in the coming years, though there are no projection dates, as installations are determined by contracts with the NYC Department of Transportation, according to Cohen.

Despite the additions coming in slower than riders would like, the Riders Alliance is grateful the projects are mostly funded, and in Councilman Cohen’s district, fully funded.

“To us it’s a win because this is something that the community wants, “ Burgos-Veras added. “One of the biggest things people say is they stand there and they have no idea when their bus is coming and some people sometimes don’t have the application to know when the next bus is coming because what ever the situation is. People now have more power and more options to decide how to plan their day with these countdown clocks.”

The campaign led by the Riders Alliance was also contributed to by Councilman Fernando Cabrera who provided $113,000, according to the group.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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