So I went up to Astoria today to check out the new M60 Select Bus line. I didn't look ahead of time to see where the stops were since I was out for a walk anyway, so when I got to 46th Street I had to walk east to 77th Street. This is not as far as it sounds, due to a bend in the street grid. As I was walking, two articulated M60 buses passed, and I could see people standing inside.
I got to the 77th Street stop, and there was an MTA van parked in it. Two guys in day-glo vests jumped out and inspected the ticket machines. A woman, also wearing a vest, was there to inform passengers. I squeezed past them and got a ticket, but by the time I got back around the machines, a bus was flying past the stop. It said "Next Bus Please," so it may have been full; I didn't get a chance to look. A few minutes later the guys emptied the change from the coin machine, got into their van, and left.
I saw a stack of brochures on top of the ticket machines and read one while I waited for the following bus. One thing that's not so good: if you transfer to the M15 Select Bus, you can't use the same ticket. You have to go to another ticket machine and stick your card or more money in. Presumably it's the same transferring from the Bx12 to the Bx41. That's pretty lame.
Also, the M60 is scheduled for every ten minutes on Sunday, but the local Q19, which replaces the local M60 service, is only every half hour on Sunday. That's not good.
I didn't time how long it took until the bus came, but it was a while, and when it came, it was so packed that only a few people could get on. There were five other people waiting, and since I wasn't in a hurry, I let the others board. The next bus was at least ten minutes after that. There was room to stand but no seats, even for the guy who was carrying a baby.
We flew down the Grand Central Parkway service road to Steinway and then 31st Street, and I got off. I didn't go to see how the buses were doing on 125th Street, but from what I saw on BusTime they weren't moving too fast.
My main impression is that the buses on this new route were doing very well in terms of ridership. I saw five buses, and they all had people standing. Two had no room for more passengers by 77th Street. If this isn't a fluke, the MTA will have to increase service on Sundays just to be able to fit everyone on.