Bus Riders, Business Owners, Drivers Review 14th Street Busway

By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- One day after the 14th Street busway went into effect, the new transit and truck priority corridor is getting a Bronx cheer from most of the business owners in the area.

Many say the lack of cars and traffic is hurting their business.

"Not good," said a fruit vendor on 14th Street and Ninth Avenue. "No cars, business goes down."

It's not just empty of moving cars, there are only a few cars parked, legally or not, on 14th Street now. 

"If they cannot stand here, how can they come in?" Khan Hussein, a convenience store owner, said.

One driver called it "a total disaster."

"It wasn't well planned out and the mayor should be ashamed of himself," the man said. "It took me an hour to get from the Midtown Tunnel across here to the garage spot that I have over here on 14th Street. It's a nightmare and this was a light traffic day."

The goal of the 18-month pilot program is to speed up the buses that ride on 14th Street, especially the M14 bus which currently averages a speed of five miles per hour. So far it seems that goal is being met, with buses appearing to come more frequently, making most bus riders happy, WCBS 880's Joe Avellar reported.

"It was great," one rider said. "It was faster."

"Compared to the other times, it's alright," another rider said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC that it's too early to know if the change is working.

"We want to hear from people, obviously, and what they experience," he said, adding that it's a test project which will be evaluated.

Under the new rule only buses and trucks are allowed to travel along 14th Street, between Third and Ninth avenues, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.

All other vehicles are permitted to drive on 14th Street for local access, for pick-ups and drop-offs but must make next available right turn. No left turns are allowed.

Police will begin issuing fines to violators, ranging from $50 to $250, following a 60-day warning period.