BUS-ted. An express bus route in the Bronx has once again failed to live up to its riders’ expectations.
According to many of the passengers, the BxM9 express bus, which begins at Layton and Vincent avenues in the Bronx and ends at 23rd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, has been unpunctual and unsanitary, a reoccurring issue that also took place in 2011 and 2012.
The tardiness on this route has created a Domino effect, causing passengers to be late for their jobs.
The state of the buses and bus stops aren’t looking much better – as a regular rider recently told the Times that the last BxM9 stop in the Bronx, located at the Cross Bronx Expressway Service Road and Randall Avenue, is filled with debris.
He also explained that these bus have stained seats, and that he even found a used condom on the ground next to the stop.
“I have spent hours at bus stops talking to fellow passengers as we wait for these buses which come hours late,” said a regular passenger who identified himself as John. “I have had to wake up bus drivers who fall asleep while parked around the corner because they forget to wake up on time to start their run.”
Another fellow rider expressed her frustrations due to the chaos the BxM9 bus has caused its customers.
“Buses are simply not showing up, period,” said Faith, another regular. “This is most common when the buses are scheduled to arrive once an hour, which means that if one driver doesn’t do his job, dozens of commuters can be stranded for a long time. This usually tends to happen in inclement weather or late at night, but I should not be spending three hours at a bus stop when three buses should have arrived during that time span.”
“If I had to guess, I would say that I’ve spend over $250 in the past year and a half on cab fares to travel home because I was tired of waiting for buses that never arrived,” Faith added.
Many riders, including John and Faith, also charged that certain drivers act aggressively behind the wheel by cutting off vehicles, tailgating and yelling at other drivers through their front window.
Even though the BxM9’s problems seem to be coming from every side, they cannot be completely blamed for the lateness issue.
The MTA, which achieved 77.9% on-time performance and 84.7% wait assessment for the BxM9 route in 2014, encourages their buses to be on time and punctual – not early or late.
“We regularly review ridership of of all bus routes to ensure that they operate within our loading guidelines and we will continue to monitor the BxM9 route,” an MTA spokesperson said. “The maintenance of the bus stops is under the purview of DOT.”
A 4% MTA fare hike will go into effect on Sunday, March 22, leaving many BxM9 passengers to wonder why they are paying higher prices for deteriorating service.
Councilman James Vacca explained the issue, and how his office attends to handle and correct the matter.
“The MTA has used ‘bad weather’ as an excuse for many of the recent delays and absences. Now that the winter is over, they can’t use that as an excuse anymore,” Vacca said.
He helped resolve similar complaints on the BxM9 line in 2011 and 2012. “We want improvements and my office is on top of this,” he concluded.