WEEKEND EDITION

Is Your Bus a Snail or an Elephant?

| December 1, 2011 11:22 AM

The M101 bus on East 42 Street runs with questionable reliability, according to the Straphangers. The M101/102/103 routes won this year's Schleppey award for most unreliable bus line. Flickr/dj.surf.lfs

All MTA bus lines are not created equal. Like the animal kingdom, some buses operate with the reliability of  and grace of a cheetah, while others are clearly loose descendants of snails and elephants. On Dec. 1, the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign released their annual “Pokey and Schleppie Awards” for the worst routes in town.

The winner of the (not so) coveted Pokey golden snail trophy for the slowest bus line was the M50 line, which had an average speed of 3.5 miles per hour, according the Straphangers Campaign. The M50 is the crosstown line on 49th and 50th Streets.

    The Straphangers Schleppie Award for most unreliable bus service. The two lumbering elephants symbolize "bunched up" buses. Image courtesy of the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.

      “You can push a lawnmower faster crosstown than it takes the M50 to go from 1st to 12th Avenue,” said Gene Russianoff, attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, who claimed the average lawnmower clocks in at 4 miles per four.

      According to the Straphangers, the M50 carried an average of 3,905 riders per day in 2010.

      The M101/102/103 lines won the second award, The Schleppie, for the least-reliable service. The three lines follow a similar route from Downtown Manhattan to Harlem and Washington Heights. The M101/102/103 was awarded the prized lumbering elephants trophy.

      According to MTA data, the schleppy line frequently had major gaps in service and buses often arrive in bunches.

      The Straphangers Pokey Award for Slowest bus service. This M50 route was this year's Pokie winner. Image courtesy of the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.

      The Straphangers found that it was difficult to account for improvements to past Pokey and Schleppie winners, because of changes to the routes over time.

      For a complete list of the Pokey and Schleppie runners up, go the Straphangers’ rankings.

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