Councilmember Lander and Transit Advocates Welcome “Bus Countdown Clocks” to Brooklyn and Call for Using LinkNYC to Facilitate Faster, Affordable, Citywide Bus Arrival Time Information

Councilmember Lander and Transit Advocates Welcome “Bus Countdown Clocks” to Brooklyn and Call for Using LinkNYC to Facilitate Faster, Affordable, Citywide Bus Arrival Time Information

12 Real-Time Bus Clocks arrive in District 39, with more on the way through participatory budgeting. To achieve broader reach more quickly and affordably, Lander pushes for real-time bus arrival information to be integrated with LinkNYC, which will deliver 7,500 wi-fi consoles to NYC streets across all five boroughs within the next several years
September 25, 2017
Brooklyn, NY

Today, New York City Council Member Brad Lander, community residents, and transit advocates welcomed the arrival of 12 bus countdown clocks in the 39th Council District. These 12 “real-time passenger information” (RTPI) bus clocks will give riders accurate estimates of when buses will arrive, help them decide what route to take, and significantly improve riders’ daily experience. The clocks are accessible and ADA compliant, with full audio capabilities.

Council Member Lander began working with transit advocates to push for bus countdown clocks in 2012, shortly after the MTA’s “Bus Time” pilot (real-time passenger information available via cell phone app) was launched on the B63 bus route. Riders Alliance, a citywide transit advocacy group, worked with City Council Members through Participatory Budgeting NYC to fund bus clocks in all five boroughs in 2014. In 2016, Mayor de Blasio and the NYC Department of Transportation announced a citywide installation program of 350 bus clocks that is now underway.

The first batch of 12 clocks funded by Council Member Lander in 2014 are being installed at some of the bus stops with the highest usage in the district, which are concentrated in Park Slope. In addition, more than a dozen more bus clocks will be coming to Council District 39 in the coming years as a result of the Participatory Budgeting (PBNYC) votes in 2015 and 2016. The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and Council Member Lander plan to install these clocks in Windsor Terrace and Kensington, to ensure that riders across the district will benefit from the investment.    

“We are thrilled to welcome bus countdown clocks to Brooklyn,” said Council Member Lander. “Knowing when the next bus is coming is a real quality-of-life improvement for bus riders. Where you have another option, you can decide whether to wait. Where you don’t, you know how long you have to get a cup of coffee, run an errand, read, or make a phone call.”

"These new bus time signs are the result of DOT’s ongoing initiative to provide riders with visual and audible real-time bus arrival information in person as well as through the web, apps, and text messages,” said DOT’s Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray. “With the funding allocated by Council Member Lander, we are able to enhance New Yorkers’ commute by providing both on-street and mobile accessible real-time transit information."

As the first clocks arrive in Brooklyn, Lander is proposing to rapidly accelerate expansion of bus arrival information, in all 5 boroughs, at very little cost: by posting it on nearby LinkNYC wi-fi consoles. He called on the DOT, the MTA, the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DOITT), and LinkNYC (a private company operating the wi-fi consoles under a franchise agreement with New York City) to work together to implement the proposal.

“We can rapidly and inexpensively expand bus arrival information citywide through LinkNYC,” Lander continued. “It’s great to install 350 bus clocks across the city. But there are over 15,000 bus stops. Meanwhile LinkNYC is already expanding at a rapid pace. Let’s use them to make life a little easier for NYC’s bus riders.”

LinkNYC will roll out a total of 7,500 wi-fi consoles across the city within the next several years. Over 1,000 have already been installed, many of which are along bus routes on high-traffic streets throughout the city. With some adjustments to how consoles are sited, LinkNYC could supplement RTPI, to provide real-time bus arrival information to millions of bus riders, at a fraction of the cost.

Physical bus countdown clocks will continue to have an important role play, at high-volume bus stops, and in many places where LinkNYC consoles will not be located. DOT estimates that each clock will cost approximately $35,000. The LinkNYC consoles are installed at no cost to the city, and are funded instead through advertising revenue. They provide public service information pursuant to the franchise agreement with the City of New York, which is managed by DOITT.

"The installation of these clocks is a testament to the leadership of Council Member Brad Lander, who was one of the earliest and most dogged advocates for bringing countdown clock information to bus stops in Brooklyn and beyond,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of Riders Alliance. “Countdown clocks don't only help bus riders plan their trip and use their time well; they also attract new riders to the bus, by making the bus a more convenient, accessible and efficient way to get around town. Clocks are just one piece of what we need to do to improve bus service for 2.5 million daily riders in New York City, but they are a step in the right direction, and we applaud Council Member Lander and the Department of Transportation for their work to bring this valuable amenity to bus stops in the community.”

“RTPI bus clocks in our communities are another example of successful Participatory Budgeting. Citizen Budgeting let’s all of us address real problems with real solutions,” said Kedin Kilgore, co-president Park Slope Civic Council.

The Department of Transportation has completed the installation at the following six locations in Park Slope, which are now mapped on Council Member Brad Lander’s Capital Project Tracker:

  • 7th Ave & 9th St (Northbound B69, B67) with a transfer from 7th Ave F and G trains toward Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard

  • 7th Ave & 9th St (Southbound B69, B67) with a transfer from 7th Ave F and G trains to areas south through Park Slope into Kensington

  • Columbia St. & Carroll St (Northbound/Eastbound B61) heading North through Cobble Hill toward Downtown Brooklyn

  • Atlantic Ave. & Court St (Eastbound/Southbound B63, B61) outside of Trader Joe’s  along Atlantic Ave and south down 5th Ave., with a transfer from B57 Court St bus

  • 5th Ave & 7th St (Southbound B67) with a transfer from 5th Ave through Park Slope and Sunset Park into Bay Ridge  

  • 7th Ave & Flatbush St (Southbound B69, B67) with a transfer from 7 ave B and Q subway on 7th Ave through Park Slope

Installation is underway at the six remaining locations:

  • 7th Ave & 6th St (Northbound B69, B67) outside Methodist Hospital toward Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard

  • 5th Ave & 9th St (Northbound/Westbound B63) to Brooklyn Bridge Park through Park Slope, with a transfer from B61

  • 5th Ave & 9th Street (Southbound B63) with a transfer from the 4th Av-9th st F,G,R subway station south through Sunset Park into Bay Ridge

  • Flatbush Ave & Grand Army Plaza (Southbound B41 LTD, B41) adjacent to Prospect Park, directly across from the Brooklyn Public Library

  • 5th Ave & Dean St (Southbound B63) with a transfer to multiple trains and the B65, south on 5th Ave to Bay Ridge

  • 7th Ave & 11th Street (Northbound B69, B67) toward Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard

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