Why driving in NYC has somehow gotten even slower
You’re better off hoofing it.
Driving in the heart of Manhattan has somehow gotten even slower, a city report revealed Friday — and the glacial pace has motorists cursing the surge of black cars brought on by Uber and Lyft.
Average travel speeds for the borough south of 60th Street have plummeted from 9.1 mph in 2010 to 7.1 mph in 2017, while those in Midtown alone have sunk even lower, falling from 6.4 mph to a measly 5 mph in the same period, according to the Department of Transportation’s Mobility Report.
And it’s little wonder, with Gothamites fleeing sluggish subways and buses, and for-hire vehicles like those from Uber and Lyft flooding the streets to pick up those peeved passengers.
“Several new trends — including declines in mass-transit ridership and slower travel times, combined with more car ownership and for-hire vehicle trips — are together causes for concern,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said as she released the report.
You don’t need to tell that to drivers.
“It’s gotten to the point where it takes two or three more hours to make the same number of deliveries [as a few years ago],” said truck driver Angel Rodriguez, who lives in The Bronx and delivers to Manhattan hardware stores.
“You know it’s bad when you’re sitting in traffic and little old ladies on the sidewalk are going faster than you . . . And you know it’s really bad when they’re using their walkers and they’re moving faster than you.”
There are now more than 110,000 black cars registered with the Taxi and Limousine Commission — nearly triple the number the city had in 2010, before app-based ride-hailing services entered the marketplace, according to city data.
Although yellow-taxi use has dropped 25 percent since 2010, for-hire vehicle trips have more than made up for the shortfall, with 92.5 million trips in those cars recorded in 2016 alone.
“Every year, it’s getting more and more bad,” one hack said.
“There are too many [for-hire] cars on the streets. The number goes up every month.”
And a full half of commuters using for-hire vehicles say it’s a replacement for a public-transit trip — matching a decline in subway and bus ridership.
“The subways are f- -ked up, so I would rather take a Lyft to work than the subway,” said Sara Ornied, 30, a designer from the Upper West Side.
“I am at least, like, in my own space and not crammed in a subway car with no AC.”
Just 23 percent of New Yorkers use the subway as their primary mode of transportation and 8 percent use buses, while 32 percent use cars, 3 percent for-hire vehicles and 28 percent walk.
Subway ridership dropped for the first time in years between 2015 and 2016, despite population, employment and tourism all increasing.
Bus use has been plummeting steadily, with 697 million riders in 2010 down to 638 million in 2016 — as bus speeds dropped city-wide from 7.64 mph to 7.44 mph over the same period.
In Manhattan, the people movers are even more sluggish, with speeds down 21 percent since 2010, according to the report.
Queens has also seen bus traffic screech to a halt in recent years, with average speeds dropping by 2 mph or more across swathes of the borough from 2015 to 2017.
Meanwhile, private-car registration is outpacing population growth, hitting 1.9 million in 2016 and increasing 8.3 percent since 2010.
Officials say they need to turn these trends around to keep the city moving.
“Mass transit is what makes New York City possible,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said in response to the report.
“Reversing the downward trend in subway ridership, speeding up buses, reducing private-car usage, and helping every New Yorker — not just the able-bodied — move around the city aren’t optional, they’re crucial necessities for the city to thrive.”
But the study wasn’t all bad news. It found the launch of the Second Avenue Subway in 2017 saw fewer people in that area using cabs or for-hire vehicles than elsewhere in the city and in previous years.
Traffic speeds also increase in the adjacent streets, with Third Avenue revving up from an average of 9.2 mph in 2017 to 10.2 mph this year, while Second Avenue increased a more modest 0.2 mph.
And more people are cycling around town, with bike-riding trips growing from 250,000 a day in 2010 to 460,000 in 2016.
Additional reporting by Kevin Fasick
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