NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Cutting costs may also mean cutting convenience for many New Yorkers who ride the bus.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working on getting rid of printed schedules at all bus stops in order to save some money, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports.
Knowing when the bus was going to arrive is a luxury 83-year-old Phillip Sattel, of the Upper West Side, admittedly took for granted.
“I’ll have to just sit here and wait. It’s very unfair,” he said.
That’s because the Upper West Sider doesn’t know how to text message, nor does he have a smart phone to download the MTA’s phone app. Both are newer ways to get the bus schedule while the printed ones posted at stops are being phased out.
Sattel says all he has is a flip phone.
In July, the MTA began removing arrival schedules from all its bus stops, replacing them with information recommending riders either open the authority’s MyMTA app, text the MTA’s arrival number, call 511 or even check social media.
“I’m lucky because my daughter downloaded the app for me, but I am still confused about that, too,” Edward Rodgers, of the Upper West Side, said.
Transit officials say as they modernize bus services, they’re providing more accurate time information, and going paperless and not having to reprint and re-post the schedules will save the agency $550,000 a year.
“I guess that’s a good idea to save money,” one woman said.
“Anything to help or to differ another increase,” one man said.
Many are taking issue with the change, however, including 16 Queens politicians.
City Councilman Barry Grodenchik, who represents the 23rd District, says with such a large budget, the MTA should figure out a different way to save.
“In $16.7 billion, nobody’s going to notice a half a million dollars,” he said.
Grodenchik and 15 other Queens politicians signed a letter to the MTA, saying the change is discriminatory against commuters without access to technology, especially low-income residents and senior citizens who may not know how to use it.
“We are trying very desperately to reduce congestion in the city and one of the ways we do that is by providing better mass transit service, not worse,” Grodenchik said. “So once again, the MTA has befuddled us out here in eastern Queens and, really, throughout all of New York City.”
The MTA said commuters can still have a schedule mailed to them or print out the schedule at home, but the cost for that will come out of their pockets.