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Perspective

To Build a Better Bus System, Ask a Driver

The people who know buses best have ideas about how to reform the system, according to a survey of 373 Brooklyn bus operators.
New York City bus drivers have something to say about improving service.
New York City bus drivers have something to say about improving service. Keith Bedford/Reuters

The facts are stark: Bus ridership in New York City is in a state of free fall. Ridership losses in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan are even more alarming.

This isn’t a secret. Advocacy groups have agitated for reforms for years. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently released a bus action plan intended to increase service quality, and with it, ridership. So far, the plan has few details, but it primarily focuses on technological and technical improvements, including all-door boarding, transit signal priority, and the distance between stops. While these improvements are needed, we believe any plan could benefit from input from a very critical element in the system: the drivers who sit behind the wheel.