Straphangers Hand Out ‘Pokey’ and ‘Schleppie’ Awards

November 5, 2009 Updated: November 5, 2009

NEW YORK—The New York Public Interest Research Group's (NYPIRG) Straphangers Campaign and the transportation advocate Transportation Alternatives released their “Pokey” and “Schleppie” awards on Thursday outside the public library on 5th Ave.

The Pokey award, a golden snail on a pedestal, went to the M42, the city’s slowest bus which was clocked at 3.7 MPH. According the NYPIRG Web site, a five-year-old on a motorized tricycle would outpace the M42. The pace of the cross-town bus is not much faster than the average person can walk, about 3 MPH. On an average weekday the M42 moves 13,057 riders, according to NYPIRG’s Web site.

The bus was timed at 12 noon on a weekday by Straphangers’ volunteers, who timed 23 of the city’s infamously slow bus routes.

The group also listed the slowest bus routes in each borough:

• The B63, between Fort Hamilton and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn; 5.1 MPH.
• The Bx19, between Botanical Garden in the Bronx and Harlem; 4.9 MPH.
• The M42, crosstown on 42nd St. in Manhattan; 3.7 MPH.
• The Q56, between Jamaica, Queens, and East New York, Brooklyn; 6.3 MPH.
• The S42, between New Brighton and St. George Ferry Terminal, Staten Island; 10.6 MPH.

Last year the Pokey award was given to the M96 cross-town bus.

This year’s Schleppie award, symbolized by a statue of golden lumbering elephants, was given to the city’s least reliable bus route, the B44, which runs on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn.

The unreliability was largely due to buses either arriving bunched together or with long gaps in service. About 20 percent of B44’s were recorded as running as such. The award is based on official transit statistics.

A new award created this year—the “Trekkie” award, a golden camel symbolizing the long trek—went to the bus with the longest scheduled running time; the M4 takes 1 hour and 50 minutes to go from midtown to upper Manhattan. The bus begins its long sojourn at Penn Station and takes passengers to Fort Tryon Park. In comparison, a weekday afternoon Amtrak train takes about 1 hour and 18 minutes to travel from New York to Philadelphia.

NYPIRG also listed the longest running times of the buses in each borough: the B8, which runs between Bay Ridge and Brownsville, takes 1 hour and 38 minutes; the Bx36 from Soundview in the Bronx to Manhattan takes 1 hour and 25 minutes; the M4 at 1 hour and 50 minutes; the Q32—running from Jackson Heights, Queens to Manhattan—clocks in at 1 hour and 27 minutes; and the S74 takes 1 hour and 22 minutes between Tottenville and St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

There was good news as well. The report noted that select bus service on the Bx12 is 41 percent faster than local service, and the number of buses that were rated as “unreliable” have dropped from 13 to 4 between 2008 and 2009.