Express Bus Rider Report Card Results

I have to admit I did not do the express bus rider report card any justice in terms of coverage & for that I do apologize. I meant to post about the results on July 4th as I was writing the other entries but I got sidetracked. Anyhow lets get down to business by starting out with the press release issued by the MTA discussing the results:

With an eye toward replicating the information-gathering process that turned out to be so successful with the Subway Rider Report Card, MTA New York City Transit and MTA Bus solicited the views of express bus customers in order to learn what aspects of their service they’d like to see improved.

Using the Express Bus Rider Report Card to evaluate everything about their daily commute from bus announcements to schedule adherence to seat availability per trip, riders who rely on MTA Bus and NYC Transit’s express bus service were asked to assign a lettered grade to 20 different service attributes.

The Express Bus Rider Report Card was distributed to riders during the week of November 13th, 2007. In total, 10,301 riders responded: 9,015 by mail and 1,286 via the internet. When the votes were tallied, riders gave the network of express bus routes an overall C grade.

“Given the number of riders who took the time to respond, it is clear our customers have strong feelings about the service they receive,” said NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “As we found with the subways, the Express Bus Rider Report Card will be a valuable tool in shaping service to the expectations of our customers,” added Roberts.

Brooklyn riders gave express bus service an overall C-minus grade, while riders in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens graded service a C-plus. Staten Island service received the lowest grade from riders, a D-plus.

System-wide, riders graded “Clarity of bus destination signage,” “Courtesy of bus operators and dispatchers,” and “Ease of paying your fare” a B-minus. “Reasonable wait times between buses,” “Current schedule information at bus stop” and “Bus operates according to schedule” received a D-plus. “Seat availability,” “Smooth handling of bus” and “Cleanliness of buses” received a C-plus grade, while “Comfortable temperature in buses” and “Bus announcements routinely made” received a C grade. “Lack of graffiti on buses” and “Lack of scratchitti on buses” both received a B grade from riders, but “Bus Announcements that are informative” received a C-minus.

“With the integration of NYC Transit and MTA Bus, these report cards will help us ensure we provide quality and reliable service across the board in a seamless manner,” added Joseph J. Smith, Sr. Vice President of Buses at NYC Transit and President of MTA Bus.

Riders were also asked to rank in order of importance their top priorities for improving express bus service. For their first priority riders system-wide chose “Reasonable wait times between buses” followed by “Bus operates according to schedule,” while “Seat availability” was third on riders’ list of priorities. For their fourth priority, riders picked “Comfortable temperature in buses” while “Current schedule information at bus stops” ranked fifth.

Among the grades given to individual NYC Transit routes, Staten Island express bus riders gave the X5, X8 and X12/42 a grade of C-minus. Riders gave the X17 a D grade, while the X1 and X10 received D-plus grades. The X27/37 and the X38 received a C-minus grade from Brooklyn riders but the X28 received a C grade. Queens express bus riders gave the X68 a B and X63 a B-minus, while the X90 in Manhattan received a C-plus.

MTA Express Bus riders in the Bronx gave the BXM7 and BXM7A routes a B-minus, and the BXM1 and BXM10 routes a C-plus grade. The BM5 from Brooklyn was given a C-plus, while the BM1 and BM3 routes received a C grade. In Queens, the QM22 received the highest grade system wide from riders, scoring an A-minus. The QM24 and QM10 received a B-minus grade, while the QM1A, QM2 and QM2A routes were given C-plus grades.

The full list of grades and priorities for all routes can be found at

NYC Transit provides express service from Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island to mid and Lower Manhattan on 36 routes. Average weekday ridership on NYC Transit’s network of express routes is 47,000 riders per day. MTA Bus operates express service from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens to mid and Lower Manhattan on 35 routes with an average weekday ridership of 41,000.

Normally I would breakdown the results line by line & offer line by line analysis as well. However in this case I will not be doing that due to all the results coming out at once. I also could not offer hands on analysis as I never rode any of the express bus routes. Here are the links to the results:

    X1 – X10
    X11 – X19
    X20 – X37
    X38 – X90
    BM1 – BM4
    BXM1 – BXM6
    BXM7 – BXM18
    QM1 – QM10
    QM11 – QM24
    All Results

While I have never ridden any of these routes, I can’t say I am surprised by the results. In using regular bus service as a comparison point, it is easy to understand how the same issues that face that service would apply to express buses. The top 3 complaints by the majority of riders highlight what I & millions of others already knew about the issues facing bus riders in the tri-state area. I am curious to see if the results lead to any service changes as it did with some subway lines.

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