Select Bus Service Problems

I recently visited New York. I stayed in Kew Gardens Hills, a neighborhood located between Jamaica and Flushing, just close enough to the subway that it’s plausible to walk but just far enough that this walk is uncomfortable and I preferred to take a bus. The bus route, Main Street, is one of Queens’ busiest (see data here and here). I’ve been calling for investment in it for years, going back to a fantasy spite map I drew so long ago I don’t remember what year it was, and continuing more recently in my post on where New York should and shouldn’t build light rail. Last year, the route did get Select Bus Service, and I took it a few times. The result is not good.

Main Street maintains two bus corridors: the local Q20, and the Select Bus Service Q44. Almost every SBS route is an overlay of a local route and a rapid route; on the local route passengers must board from the front and pay within view of the driver, and on the rapid route passengers must validate a ticket at ticketing machines beforehand and can then board the bus from any stop, with the fare enforced via random checks for ticket receipts. This leads to the following problems, some preventable, some inherent to this setup:

  1. Passengers who can take either the local or the SBS route need to decide in advance whether to validate their tickets at the machines or not, based on whether the next bus is SBS. The resulting last-minute validation delays boarding. After the mayhem caused by the introduction of SBS to the M15, on First and Second Avenues, bus drivers on local routes began to accept the receipts spitted out by the SBS ticketing machines. However, this practice is either inconsistent or not widely-known among occasional bus riders, such as the people I was staying with, who own cars.
  2. The combination of local and limited buses on a medium-frequency route such as Main Street makes it impossible to maintain even headways. Even within each route (Q20 or Q44) I repeatedly saw bunching, but the different speeds of the Q20 and Q44 make bunching between a local and an express inevitable at some point on the route. Off-peak weekday frequency is 10 minutes on the Q20 and 8 on the Q44, which isn’t good enough to justify this split, especially given the bunching within each route; some stations will always be scheduled to have 8-minute service gaps, and in practice could see 15-minute gaps because of the bunching. See more on this problem of locals and rapids on infrequent routes on Human Transit.
  3. The expense of the ticketing machines ($75,000 per stop for a pair of modified MetroCard vending machines and a machine that takes coins) limits how widely they can be installed. Everywhere else where proof-of-payment is used, holders of valid transfers and season passes can just board the train or bus and show their pass to an inspector. This would be especially useful in New York, because the biggest crunch at SBS stops occurs when many passengers arrive at the stop at once, which in turn is the most common where passengers transfer from the subway. The slow process of validating a ticket leads to queues at busy times, and adding more machines is difficult because of their cost.
  4. Stop spacing is never what it should be. Most developed countries have converged on a standard of about 400-500 meters between successive bus stops. North America instead has converged on 200 meters, leading to slow buses that stop too often; see an old Human Transit post on the subject here. The stop spacing on the segment of the Q44 I was using was two stops in 1.7 km, leading to long walks between stops.
  5. On the schedule, the Q44 makes 15 stops in 9.2 km between its origin in Jamaica and Flushing, and takes 42 minutes in the midday off-peak. This is an average speed of 13.1 km/h. In contrast, Vancouver’s limited-stop buses, which average about a stop per kilometer on Broadway and 4th Avenue, average 20 km/h and 30 km/h respectively; the 4th Avenue buses do not have off-board fare collection, but there’s less traffic than on Broadway, and the stoplights give priority to through-traffic, both private and public, over crossing traffic.

The basic problem with New York’s approach to Select Bus Service is that all North American bus rapid transit ultimately descends from Jaime Lerner’s sales pitch of BRT as a cheap subway on tires, at grade. Lerner implemented BRT in Curitiba successfully, in the context of low wages: construction costs appear to only weakly depend on wealth (see e.g. my posts here, here, here, here, and here), but bus driver costs rise with average income, making replacing fifteen bus drivers with one subway driver a crucial money saver in rich cities and an unaffordable luxury in poor ones. North American BRT imitates Latin American BRT’s role as a cheap subway substitute, and ignores the superior usage of bus services in Europe, with which American transit planners do not dialog; there’s no systematic dialog with Latin American planners either, but Lerner has aggressively pitched his ideas to receptive audiences, whereas no comparable figure has pitched European-style reforms to the US.

In cities that think of BRT as a subway substitute, the BRT network will tend to be small, consisting of a few lines only serving the most important corridors, and bundle various features of improved transit together (off-board fare collection, larger vehicles, bus lanes, signal priority). After all, a line can’t be partly a subway and partly a bus. In Bogota, whose BRT system has eclipsed Curitiba and is the world’s largest, the BRT lines run different vehicles from the local lines: local buses have doors opening on the right to the curb, BRT buses have doors opening on the left to a street median bus station, some hybrids have buses with doors on both sides (see photos on Spanish Wikipedia). ITDP, which promotes Latin American-style BRT around the world, has a BRT scoring guideline that awards points to systems that brand their BRT lines separately from the rest of the bus network, as New York does with SBS.

In the European thinking, there’s already an improved quality urban transit service: the subway, or occasionally the tram. The bus is a bus. The biggest difference is that subway networks are smaller than bus networks. Paris and London, both with vast urban rail networks, have a number of subway lines measured in the teens, plus a handful of through-running commuter services; they have hundreds of bus routes. Instead of branding a few buses as special, they invest in the entire bus network, leading to systemwide proof-of-payment in many cities. Bus lanes and signal priority are installed based on demand on an individual segment basis. New York installs bus lanes without regard to local versus SBS status, but retains the special SBS brand, distinguished by off-board fare collection, and only installs it on a per-route basis rather than systemwide.

The other issue, unique to New York, is the ticket receipts. Everywhere else that I know of, bus stops do not have large ticket machines as New York does. Vancouver, which otherwise suffers from the same problem of having just a few special routes (called B-Lines), has no ticket machines at B-Line stops at all: people who have valid transfers or  monthly passes can board at their leisure from any door, while people who don’t pay at the front as on local buses. SBS in contrast does not give passengers the option of paying at the front. In New York, people justify the current system by complaining that the MetroCard is outdated and will be replaced by a smart card any decade now; in reality, systems based on paper tickets (including Vancouver, but also the entire German-speaking world) manage to have proof-of-payment inspections without smartcards. Small devices that can read the MetroCard magnetic stripe are ubiquitous at subway stops, where people can swipe to see how much money they have left.

The right path for New York is to announce that every bus route will have off-board fare collection, regardless of stop spacing. It should also engage in stop consolidation to reduce the interstation to about 400-500 meters, but this is a separate issue from fare collection. Similarly, the question of bus lanes should be entirely divorced from fare collection. There should be no ticketing machines at bus stops of the kind currently used. At most, stops should have validators, similar to the MetroCard readers at subway turnstiles but without the fare barrier. Validators are not expensive: smartcard readers in Singapore are consumer items, available to people for recharging their cards at home via their credit cards for about $40, a far cry from the $75,000 cost in New York today. People with valid transfers or unlimited cards should be able to board without any action, and people without should be able to pay on the bus.

Finally, the split between local and rapid routes should be restricted to the busiest routes, with the highest frequency in the off-peak. Conceivably it should be avoided entirely, in favor of stop consolidation, in order to increase effective frequency and reduce bunching. The city’s single busiest route, the M15, has 7-minute SBS and 8-minute local service in the midday off-peak, and given how slow the local is, it’s enough to tip the scales in favor of walking the entire way if I just miss the bus.

33 comments

  1. Stephen Smith

    The local/express split is even worse for northbound B44 SBS – they moved it to an entirely different avenue from the local! Both the local and limited used to be on New York Ave. (east of Nostrand), but they moved SBS to Rogers (west of Nostrand). This is incredibly annoying when you forget that the SBS stops running at a certain hour (I think some time around 11:30 p.m.?), and you end up waiting for a bus that is never coming.

    • Alon Levy

      I’ve heard of that split! It’s idiotic. What’s the rationale for it?

      If the bus stops running early and people should look for alternatives, the MTA should post clear signs at all relevant bus stops. In Vancouver, bus stops for routes that feed Granville change locations on weekends and after hours, when Granville closes to both cars and buses; there are clear signs directing people to parallel streets.

    • Ben Ross

      The ITDP insistence that BRT must run in center lanes has been picked up by planners in the US, where there is rarely enough ridership or funding to justify 10-minute all-day headways on both (what Jarrett Walker suggests as a minimum). Since buses can’t pass on a 2-lane busway, the locals stay in the curb lanes. The result will be riders sprinting across high-speed suburban highways when they see the bus coming is not the one they’re waiting for. An example of this tendency is the plan for Rockville Pike in Montgomery County.

      • Alon Levy

        In New York, the buses don’t even run in the center lanes. In Stockholm, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t, but when they do, as on Odengatan and Valhallavägen, all buses use the same center lanes.

        On a two-lane busway, rapids can overtake locals on the opposite lane, same way that on two-lane roads a faster car can overtake a slower car unless there’s traffic coming in the other direction. Buses aren’t trains; minimum physical headway on the road is measured in seconds rather than minutes, and even when there’s a bus every 1-2 minutes, there’s usually space in the wrong-way lane for an overtake. Separating services when frequency is lower than every 10 minutes is a lot more problematic than the overtake issue. (Again, in Kew Gardens Hills, even every 8-10 minutes isn’t quite good enough, but that’s largely because of bunching and general schedule unreliability. When I arrived, at 11 pm on a Saturday, I’d just missed two bunched Q20 locals, the posted Q44 frequency was every 15 minutes, and the actual service gap on the Q44 was 30 minutes.)

        • Ben Ross

          I haven’t seen plans for opposite-lane passing, and I’m skeptical of it. I’m thinking of US BRT which is not completely grade-separated. Recall also that ITDP recommends placing bus stops on the far side of intersections.

          If you have 10-minute headways at 10 pm, you surely need 2- or 3- minute headways at peak. The place you pass is at the local stops. Pedestrians will be crossing the busway. Many of the local stops will be at intersections where cars cross too. A 120-second signal cycle is normal in US suburbs and is hard to shorten on 6- and 8-lane roads where left turns need a protected phase to cross the busway. With a 2-minute headway on each service, there will be an average of 2 oncoming buses crossing the intersection during each signal cycle.

          Most buses will have to stop at the light. When the light turns green and the thru bus is ready to move forward, there is a greater than 50% probability that a bus is stopped at the light in the oncoming lane, and on top of that a substantial chance that there is a bus stopped at the stop. So passing will be difficult.

          The above is just a sketch of problems — there are surely ways around some of them, but they’re likely to cause more problems. For instance, moving stops away from intersections either sends pedestrians on detours to cross the street or requires an additional traffic signal that delays car traffic.

          • Alon Levy

            Hmmm. At the peak, the Q44 runs every 5 minutes (briefly dipping to 4) and the Q20 every 6-8 minutes.

            I think your explanation of stoplight signal phases misses a key fact: if my rapid bus gets a green light to go forward, then in the same signal phase, the buses in the opposite direction will be getting a green light as well. As my rapid bus crosses the intersection, the rapid bus in the other direction will be crossing it as well, in a separate lane since we’re on a two-lane busway. By the time my bus clears the intersection and has to overtake the stopping local bus, the oncoming bus will have cleared the intersection as well, and the overtake lane will be free.

            There are two ways to make sure that, when traffic on the road my bus is on can move, there is no conflict between through-traffic and oncoming left-turn traffic. One is to have a through-traffic phase and a left turn phase; the other is to have a phase for all traffic originating in my direction, and a phase for all traffic originating in the opposite direction. My understanding is that the separate left turn phase is more common, and my recollection is that in Tel Aviv, this is how it works on the wide arterials. The reason is that there’s typically more through-traffic than left-turn traffic, and about an equal amount of traffic in each direction, so it’s more efficient to have a separate left-turn phase since it can be made shorter.

        • Bjorn

          I doubt any operations manager would sign off on a plan to use overtakes due to the risks inherent. While the risk of death or serious injuries would be low due to the slow speeds and weight of the vehicle, the risk of bus-bus property damage is high due to the size of buses relative to lane width. This is why most bus stations nowadays are built with sawtooth bays in order to provide bus operators more maneuvering room compared to stations where buses stop in a single line adjacent to a thru lane.

          Take two 4×2 lego bricks (or similar objects) and try to have one brick ‘pass’ another in a space 4x wide. Unless the passing brick is lined up in advance of the stationary brick, the right side of the passing brick will strike the left rear corner of the stationary brick. Of course, any passing plan could leave buses enough room to not have to overhang the left curb while passing, but when shoulder construction, imperfect operators, or the real world is added overtaking becomes too risky.

          • Alon Levy

            In New York, rapids overtake locals all the time, and I think this is in adjacent lanes. In Bogota, they have four-lane busways, specifically so that buses can overtake without crossing oncoming traffic – Transmilenio is way more frequent than any of the systems under discussion in this thread, so four lanes are justifiable there.

          • Bjorn

            When more than one thru lane is in each direction buses can overhang adjacent lanes. Streets with a single lane in each direction and a parking lane require the bus operator to move very slowly or overhang into the opposing traffic lane if no vehicles are coming. Transmilenio appears to have wider lanes (judging from pictures), allowing bus operators somewhat more maneuvering room than typical 10 to 11-foot wide lanes.

            Local-express splits are rare on streets with only one lane in each direction for this reason.

          • Adirondacker12800

            Newark has local, limited and express service on streets with one lane in each direction. The local pulls into a local stop to let the other buses pass.

          • Adirondacker12800

            I never thought to measure them. Narrow? They are pre-automobile. The streetcar suburbs at the ends started out as horsecar suburbs.

  2. Sascha Claus

    Since parts of Germany switched to smart cards for their subscription passes, there are now proof-of-payment systems with paper-based tickets and smart cards and dumb cards (like BahnCard 100) and train tickets and opera tickets and concert tickets and convention tickets and whatever else includes public transit to and from the event. (Imagine a faregate that accepts all this stuff!)

  3. michael.r.james

    FYI, the Brisbane BRT system has ticketing only on the buses via cash to the driver, or swipe (proximity) Travel Card on a small electronic device (you must swipe on and swipe off when exiting too, so there is one on the rear doors too). Recently they have introduced semi-express buses on some high-use routes, and these stop at only every second or third stop compared to the regular buses. They only take the Travel Card (or a paper-ticket transfer) with no tickets sold by the driver, and people can enter by front and rear doors; this is to achieve faster loading (other than the occasional woman who spend minutes searching the bottom of her giant handbag, it works). It is also run as a high-frequency service (which I suppose is partly because fewer buses are required), 5 mins at peak hours.
    It works very well. Quick loading and unloading, and fast service. It has become popular and more are being introduced on more routes.

  4. Jonathan Rabinowitz

    As a daily Q44-SBS commuter from the Bronx into Queens, I appreciate your highlighting the route’s shortcomings. I would like to attest, however, that current service is faster than what it was last year before the SBS switch-over in November.

    The two biggest issues I have seen are:

    1) sometimes the machines do not work and passengers are obliged to get off at a later stop, purchase a ticket, and get back on. This can be fixed with better awareness on the controllers’ part.

    2) combination of cars parked curbside and cars waiting in the rightmost travel lane means the bus has to wait behind stopped traffic before it can pull into the stop at several locations. This can be alleviated by having no curbside parking along the entire block where there is an SBS stop.

    Also having a stop sign on Center Blvd where it T-junctions into Parsons and the Jamaica-bound bus turns left is inane. The stop sign should be on Parsons allowing buses to make the turn from Center to Parsons without slowing.

  5. Bjorn

    In Iowa City a local-express split is made between an hourly all-day route and an hourly off peak, every 30 minutes peak route. Court Hill dates to the 70s with the city takeover of the bus system, while Eastside Express is part of a trio of routes added during the aughts to service new development on the fringe. Iowa City Transit’s interlining patterns are quite complex for a city its size, with usually three routes with 30-45 minute running time sharing two buses off peak for hourly service. Extending Court Hill would have forced them to change a bunch of other routes. Eastside Express likely runs as an express in order to leave enough time for the other two routes in its trio to service the opposing edge of the city.

  6. Oreg Meyer

    “Everywhere else that I know of, bus stops do not have large ticket machines as New York does.”
    Zurich does, too. In the city center there’s a ticket machine at every single stop for local buses and trams. Only regional buses (those leaving the city proper) accept on-board payment. Both operate on proof of payment.
    And that’s how it should be. The slowdown caused by drivers checking tickets or even handling payments on lines with frequent stops is unacceptable. On lines with less frequent service, the cost of ticket machines is too high.
    Ideally passengers should have an option to buy a ticket wherever they get on for public transport to be attractive also to sporadic users, but there may be some room for compromise here.

    • Alon Levy

      Is that a ticket machine, or a ticket puncher? Per this, the standard for putting a TVM at a bus stop is 100,000 passengers per year, which if this means boardings is about twice the New York average per bus stop (New York has about 800,000,000 bus trips a year and 16,000 stops).

      • Oreg Meyer

        Interesting link, thanks. It says there, “Generally, there is a ticket vending machine located at every stop. If none is available, you have the possibility to buy your ticket in the bus.” As they don’t sell tickets on local buses and trams it confirms my point: every stop has a machine. These are fully-fledged ticket machines, accepting credit cards ‘n all. In fact, even many regional bus stops have one.
        Higher ridership than New York local buses doesn’t surprise me, given that they tend to be only marginally faster than walking. I mostly only used them to cross the park.

        • Alon Levy

          Do you have an estimate for how much these ticketing machines cost? They look a bit more streamlined than MetroCard vending machines, plus there’s just one rather than two, but I also imagine they’re more expensive than just putting in a validator.

          For what it’s worth, on Vancouver’s B-Lines, there are no ticketing machines at all at stops, even though some of them are very busy (the 99 has 55,000 daily users and 12 stops in each direction). People with valid transfers or season passes board without doing anything, as in Zurich. People who need to validate a ticket can buy one at the farebox at the front of the bus, but the driver is not going to wait for them to pay, and there’s never a long queue of people waiting to pay.

          • Oreg Meyer

            Indeed, I found this article (in German) from 2010 when they were piloting the current generation of machines: http://staging.tagesanzeiger.newsnetz.ch/zuerich/ZVV-dehnt-Versuch-mit-neuen-Billettautomaten-aus/story/16068166 According to this, one ticket machine is 36.000 Swiss francs (US$ 37.000). They budgeted 63 million Swiss francs to update 1130 machines to the current generation. This does not include the machines at train stations that are operated by SBB, the national railways, which also sell ZVV tickets. More statistics: http://www.zvv.ch/zvv/en/about-us/zuercher-verkehrsverbund/figures-and-statistics/structure.html

            Sure, moving the ticketing machine / farebox onto the vehicles is an alternative. On-board fareboxes tend to be very limited, though, w.r.t. types of tickets and forms of payment.

          • Oreg Meyer

            As you mentioned the NYC ridership, the ZVV has about 620.000.000 trips per year (not only buses but including trams, trains, boats and cable cars) and 2748 stops. That’s 225.000 trips per stop compared with 50.000 on New York buses. Not sure if this is apples and apples.

          • Alon Levy

            For a start, in New York, as in the rest of North America, the interstation is very narrow, on the order of 200 meters. That’s already twice as many stops as on this side of the Pond. As for the rest, the trunk lines in New York are subways, leaving the bus system with the weaker routes. Total ridership on the urban MTA routes (New York City Transit + various urban buses that are historically separate, called MTA Bus) was 2.6 billion in 2015, on about the same number of stops – the subway, which contributes more than two thirds of this ridership, has just a few hundred stations. The suburban operations add around 220,000,000 bus riders, predominantly in New Jersey, and 350,000,000 rail riders. I think the ZVV has relatively more surface transit ridership – the S-Bahn is just 150,000,000 if I understand Wikipedia correctly, i.e. 1/4 of ridership versus 2/3 in New York.

          • Oreg Meyer

            Right, the scope of the Zurich trams overlaps with both the NYC buses and subways (local), the S-Bahn is a mix of subway (express) and commuter rail. The trunk lines in Zurich are S-Bahn and tram. Bus stops tend to be spaced between 300 and 500 m, confirming your factor of two.

            According to this https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/vbz/de/index/die_vbz/portraet/zahlen_fakten/fahrgastzahlen.html the city of Zurich has 99.1 million local bus rides per year. There are 424 stops in the city proper, though this includes all modes. This yields more than 230.000 trips per stop.

            Going back to the original question, given that a Zurich bus stop gets more than four times the ridership of an NYC bus stop they have a much stronger case for installing ticket vending machines at each. The policy consequence for New York should be to increase ridership by making their service more attractive: Move to a proof-of-payment system and cut the number of stops in half.

          • Alon Levy

            Hmmm. So Zurich has half as many bus stops per capita as New York (424/400,000 vs. 16,000/8,500,000), and around a quarter as many per km^2 (424/88 vs. 16,000/789).

            Possibly stupid question: does Zurich count stops in one direction, or both directions? In other word, if a bus stops on a street in both directions, does this count as one stop, or as two stops? The infrastructure for curbside stops has to be duplicated anyway; in New York it counts as two stops.

  7. Union Tpke

    Having a tap card should speed up travel times. I think that stops are too close together. I take advantage of this. I live near the Kew Gardens subway station. I am a railfan and among other things I collect bus timetables. If I see timetables in the Q37 bus I go on using a free transfer and I get the timetables. The bus takes me about 1 and 2 blocks and I get off walking home. It saves me no time, but it is worth the timetables. It really drives me nuts when I am on a local route for a long distance. For instance a Q10 toward Kew Gardens when I am coming from the Ozone Park subway station. Because the stops are so close together, and people obviously want to get off at the stop closest to where they need to go, the bus keeps stopping and going. Farther spaced out stops could really help. One more thought. When I am on a bus route I am unfamiliar with, and I know my stop, but I don’t know when my stop is, it sometimes means that I pull the cord too early. I have seen this happen to many people.

  8. David Alexander

    Move to a proof-of-payment system and cut the number of stops in half.

    I await our brain trust that passes for a political elite to complain about those who dodge the fare, and that senior citizens and handicapped residents have long walks to the new condensed bus stops. Even mentioning the idea in railfan oriented groups comes seems to incur negative reactions, especially from the older railfans who argue that they can’t endure longer walks. MInd you, I’m sympathetic to those arguments given that I come from a Caribbean family where a sizable number of the older generation have some type of mobility issue.

    FWIW, I’m tempted to wonder if Europeans senior citizens simply have less mobility issues, and if biking soaks up the short distance trips that urban New Yorkers make by bus? I’ve seen people take the bus for what’s essentially short eight block trips in Queens…

    • Alon Levy

      Well, people with mobility problems don’t really ride bikes. Besides, most of Europe is not Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Stockholm has bike lanes on the major streets, but they don’t seem that well-patronized. Zurich, per the statistics Oreg links to, has about 2.5 times the per capita urban bus ridership of New York.

      My main response to the railfans who think bus reforms are awful for disabled and old people is to ask whether they’re outraged about buses with steps. The people I interact with on social media and blog comment threads who oppose bus stop consolidation do not seem to care about level boarding, which suggests to me it’s more about general opposition to change (the older sibling of NIMBYism, if you will) than about actual concern for people with disabilities.

      • Sascha Claus

        You could also ask them if they care about travel speed. If they care about mobility, they surely care about the time it takes to go somewhere!

      • David Alexander

        *Besides, most of Europe is not Amsterdam and Copenhagen. *

        Coming from somebody that grew up in the outer fringes of NYC and it’s inner suburbs, anywhere in Europe is going to come across as “bike friendly”. For a large urban city with high mass transit usage and density, NYC’s the weird outlier on a global basis where even mass transit users view bike riders as weirdos who get in the way. Hell, I’ve seen people who would be pro-bus lane that argue against road subsidies flip out when it comes to bike lanes. Even a few years ago, I would have argued “who needs a sweaty bike when the bus comes every five minutes and stops at every corner”.

        My statement wasn’t implying that people with mobility issues ride bikes, but more so that bike ridership may negate the need to have the bus stop at every corner, and that Europe may simply have less disabled and “sick” elderly people.

        *level boarding*

        FWIW, I’ve seen a few railfans freak out about modern LRV design because they think they’re ugly, and that the PCC was the best thing ever designed period. I’ve seen a few argue that low floor designs are terrible for snow, and that they’re more dangerous in collisions. Hell, I’ve seen one guy who tends to be ultra traditionalist in general seems to dismiss the advantages of multi-door boarding. Otherwise, those who aren’t baby boomers, don’t seem to have an opposition to low floor buses, but they don’t like the idea of walking further to a bus stop in general, and view the time savings saved as minimal. And as I noted, everybody seems to know some older person that has mobility issues, but uses the bus.

      • Matthew

        I know plenty of people with mobility problems who ride cycles around Cambridge and London. Design principles of the new infrastructure are intended to support people using all sorts of interesting cycles… tricycles, hand cycles, recumbent cycles, velomobiles, etc. For some, it’s much easier to cycle than walk.

        Anyway, there will still be some people who can’t cycle, of course. Just thought it was a bit glib to dismiss the possibility altogether.

        Regarding distances, I do think that Europeans are more inclined to walk further and not think anything strange of it. That seems to be the impression I get from people I meet. Particularly on the continent.

        Still not an excuse for bad bus stop spacing in America though. An argument for better walking infrastructure, I’d say. For the record, Brits are nearly as bad as Americans with bus operations and design, and possibly worse off in many ways with regard to walking infrastructure (often non-existent, even in urban environments).

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