Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


Riding the Free BxM1 Home an hour to go the first mile from 41st to 61st Street, less than an hour the rest of the way to 207th Street. Seeing pumping at Dyckman Street as I backtrack to Washington Heights – No Subways = Gridlock, Part 7

This post is the seventh (Post 1|Post 2|Post 3|Post 4|Post 5|Post 6) in a multi-post series about my day wandering down to Midtown Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy when there was no subway service and the only train service to Manhattan was the Metro-North Harlem Line that resumed hourly service after 2pm, all bus service was fare-free.

When I noticed that two BxM1 buses were less than a stop away on BusTime (which had only been activated on Bronx Bus Routes that morning, roll-out was scheduled for October 30 according to the promotion posters) I dashed over to 3rd Avenue. I saw the bus and quickly dashed across the street seeing two, nearly neck and neck, one right after another. It turned out there was no need to with absolute gridlock. Only the first bus pulled up and I boarded a quite empty MTA Express Bus for only my second ride ever on a n MTA MCI Bus. I got on and immediately felt like I was on an old Greyhound with the cloth seats and overhead racks. The seats have neat MTA blue stripes running down the grey fabric.

The bus leaves 41 Street and 3 Avenue at 3:25 and barely moves. I’m on a bus again in absolute gridlock, second time today, luckily a comfy coach bus and not packed M98. My iPhone dies as I keep track of the transit news as we keep moving inch by inch in the worst traffic I’ve ever been in. I’m happy I’m sitting in a comfy plush seat on a nice express bus (on a local bus I would have walked until the traffic got better or if I was nearing my destination). I also know that I couldn’t have walked and caught up to the next bus since from BusTime I don’t see one caught in traffic farther up.

We finally leave the next stop at 49th Street at 4:11, 45 minutes to go 8 blocks, less than half a mile (4/10th according to the fact one block is 1/20th a mile) a speed of just over a half-mile per hour, I could have walked much, much faster than this bus.

The bus, much to my surprise inches itself over to the left lane moving ever so slightly faster (Maybe footing are way along?). I soon realize that were trying to avoid all the traffic trying to get on the Queensboro Bridge which is accessed partially from the right lanes. We eventually get to the next stop at 61 Street and 3rd Avenue at 4:32. Exactly a mile in only slightly over an hour, about .9mph to be exact.

There, a crowd of maybe 40 people are waiting to board. The driver doesn’t open the doors yet but walks back, counting seats (I really feel like I’m on a Greyhound). He also tells anyone sprawled across two seats to free up the asile seat since they need to double up. One passenger decides to give up and inches her way off the bus. He then lets exactly the number of passengers per seats onto the bus. He tells the rest there is another bus directly behind him (true).

The traffic on Third Avenue subsides. The bus is finally moving The bus skips the next stop at 63rd Street (a few disappointed people) and get to 69th Street at 4:41. 9 minutes to 8 blocks this time, up to 2.6mph. There the driver stops briefly to open the door and say that “I have no seats, There is a bus right behind me.” Someone waiting at the stop says “We’ve been waiting over an hour!”
We skip the stop at 78th Street as well without even stopping with disappointed passengers waiting at the curb. The traffic on 3rd Avenue is actually moving fairly well.

At the 85th Street stop we stop to let passengers on, and those passengers are only allowed to stand and start crowding the asile. Motorcoaches are definitely not designed for standees, the crowd:

We get to the last stop to receive passengers at 4:53, 97th Street & 3rd Avenue. 28 blocks, 1.4 miles in 12 minutes, up to 7mph!
The speed picks up by 5:00 were passing 120th Street & 3rd Avenue and before I know it were turning onto 126th Street to get on the northbound Harlem River Drive. We go full speed up to the drive and were stopped at the traffic light at the end of the highway in Inwood at 5:10. 10 minutes to go about 4.6 miles, 27mph!

It takes another ten minutes to go down Dyckman Street to Broadway where I notice MTA crews are busy pumping out to the A train subway station there. At 5:16 we turn Broadway and at 5:20 I’m finally getting off this bus at 207th Street inside the Bx12 SBS stop. Its discharge only so it doesn’t require a sign. Quite a lot of the bus is also getting off and it takes a while with the crowded asile. There is delicate movement of some passengers getting off while others (heading north to Riverdale) sit down in now open seats to get out of the way.

The total time of this trip was nearly two hours (1 hour, 55 minutes), one of those hours taking us to go the first mile, 20 blocks and less than an hour for the rest of the trip. Average speed: 4.8mph, if you don’t include the first hour to go a mile the trip was a rather speedy (by New York standards) 10.3mph!

There a few more stops I want to make before I head home. First is to see the signage at University Heights since service is supsended. I walk down to the platform and the not very good (they don’t list the current schedule as those on the LIRR do) LED sign simply says Service Suspended:

I then head over the Dyckman Street (A station) and get some photos of crews pumping out a station, which shows why bringing the subways back will take so much time and not just due to a lack of power in Lower Manhattan:

I end up tying to take the Bx7 or M100 down Broadway but their so overcrowded I decide just to walk. I try to take the elevator up at 190th Street but am greeted with these signs (someone from the MTA has stopped by), I am stuck walking up the steps at 187th Street to get up the hill and the upper landing at 181st Street has identical signs:

Then I walk home, looking forward to tomorrow when it will be time to see how the limited subway service is actually operating.