Crosstown bus cuts


The M31 bus will soon run with increased headways during morning peak and evening hours on weekdays. Photo: Michael Garofalo
MTA to implement new schedules with reduced service on M31 and M72 routes
By Michael Garofalo

Bus riders will face increased wait times on the M31 and M72 routes under new schedules set to take effect April 28.

The M31 bus, which provides crosstown service between Yorkville and the West Side via 57th Street, will run less often during morning peak and evening hours on weekdays. The morning rush hour cuts are relatively modest, with scheduled headways between buses to increase from 6 to 6.5 minutes. The evening cuts are more significant, with scheduled headways to increase from 10 to 12 minutes.

A 2017 report from Comptroller Scott Stringer found that the M31 travels at an average speed of just 4.14 mph, making it the city’s second-slowest bus route.

On the M72, which runs between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, scheduled headways during morning peak hours will be increased from 10 to 12 minutes.

According to boilerplate language used by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to justify bus frequency reductions, the cuts are intended “to more closely align service with customer demand and to meet established bus loading guidelines.”

Both routes were subject to a previous round of service cuts in 2017.

The MTA’s practice of using decreased ridership to justify service cuts has frustrated many bus riders, who believe that slow and infrequent service is to blame for riders abandoning the bus as a reliable transit option.