Congestion Pricing Would Save Riders of Most Queens and Brooklyn Express Buses One to Two Hours Per Week

New York’s tens of thousands of express bus riders commute some of the longest distances in the city. They pay $6.50 per ride. They hail from far flung neighborhoods in the outer boroughs sometimes deemed ‘transit deserts’ because they lack good subway connections.

Many express bus riders are even designated ‘supercommuters’ by the Census Bureau, because they travel more than 90 minutes each way to get to work.

With many spending upwards of 15 hours each week in transit, their time is especially precious.

According to this new route-by-route analysis by the Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization of transit riders, congestion pricing could return express bus riders in Brooklyn and Queens an hour or two of their valuable time each and every week.

Congestion pricing is a policy that would charge cars and trucks to enter the Manhattan central business district south of 60th Street. One effect of congestion pricing would be to discourage and reduce unnecessary vehicle trips into the congestion zone, reducing traffic congestion.

The reduction in congestion would in turn speed travel both within the congestion zone and on approaches to it, including on streets in the outer boroughs. The Balanced Transportation Analyzer, a tool used by the state’s Fix NYC panel, which proposed a congestion pricing regime earlier this year, found that, once in effect, congestion pricing would increase traffic speeds by 20% within the central business district and by 7% on approaches to it.

Those percentages in turn dictate the Riders Alliance’s time savings predictions for Queens and Brooklyn express bus routes.

So, how’d we do the analysis?

  1. All time savings are calculated using traffic speed increases projected by the Balanced Transportation Analyzer, also used by the Fix NYC panel, of 20% within the Manhattan central business district and 7% on approaches to the central business district
  2. We consulted MTA New York City Transit and MTA Bus express bus schedules for each line serving Brooklyn and Queens
  3. We selected the weekday express bus run scheduled to arrive at its final destination with the Manhattan CBD at or closest to 9 am
  4. We divided the length of each selected express bus run into two segments, one approaching the CBD and one within it
  5. We multiplied the number of minutes on the approach by 1/1.07 (0.934) and the number of minutes within the CBD by 1/1.2 (0.833)
  6. We subtracted each product from the original segment length before congestion pricing
  7. We added the two differences from step # 6 above to get the time savings per trip.
  8. We multiplied the sum from step # 7 by ten to get the time savings per week, assuming two rush hour trips per day, five days per week
  9. We converted decimal hours and minutes to hours and minutes “on the clock” using ontheclock.com’s converter tool.

Brooklyn Example: BM1

The MTA Bus Company’s BM1 express bus runs between Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and Midtown, Manhattan. According to MTA Bus, the BM1 morning run ending closest to 9 am in midtown is scheduled to take one hour and 44 minutes from end to end. Of that total running time, 78 scheduled minutes are between Mill Basin and 23rd Street/1st Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side. Twenty-six additional minutes are scheduled between the 23rd Street/1st Avenue stop and the final stop at 57th Street/3rd Avenue.

Total estimated time-savings using method above? 1 hour and 35 minutes per week.

Queens Example: X63

New York City Transit’s X63 express bus runs between Rosedale, Queens, and Midtown, Manhattan. According to New York City Transit, the X63 morning run ending closest to 9 am in midtown is scheduled to take two hours and three minutes from end to end. Of that total running time, 85 scheduled minutes are between Rosedale and 37th Street/3rd Avenue on Manhattan’s East Side. Thirty-eight additional minutes are scheduled between the 37th Street/3rd Avenue stop and the final stop at 23rd Street/1st Avenue.

Total estimated time-savings using method above? 2 hours per week.


Time Savings Per Route Per Week

Time Savings Per Route Per Week (Chart)
Time Savings Per Route Per Week (Graph)