The Downtown Connection shuttle, which was launched by the Alliance in 2003 (and expanded to 37 stops in 2009), operates a fleet of seven buses from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, on weekdays, with five buses on weekends. The service connects residential areas of Lower Manhattan with business and shopping districts. In 2016, the Alliance added of a new stop at 119 South Street (near the corner of Peck Slip), which brought the total of pick-up and drop-off points on the route to 38.
Freedom of Movement
BPCA Board Allocates Funds to Support for Free Downtown Shuttle Bus
At its August 27 board meeting, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) allocated more than $1.2 million to continue support for the free Downtown Connection shuttle bus service, operated by the Downtown Alliance.
BPCA vice president Eric Munson explained, “for the past 16 years, this free shuttle service has proven to be a vital resource for commuters, seniors, and residents. A ridership survey last year estimated that 44 percent of rides originate or terminate at one of 17 stops in Battery Park City.” The same poll found that 38 percent of respondents lived in the community, while 22 percent worked here.
“An estimated 640,000 workers, residents, and visitors use it,” Mr. Munson continued, noting that the Alliance has a contract with Golden Touch Transportation to provide vehicles and drivers through November, 2020. “Next year,” he added, “they will solicit bids for a new provider. Based on the board’s feedback last year, the Authority has been proactively working with the Alliance to find energy-efficient buses — ideally electric buses — and that remains our goal.”
Mr. Munson observed that, “the Authority’s annual contribution since 2010 has been $632,000, or 42 percent of direct program expenses. He then asked for approval, “to cover the Authority’s historic share of operations for calendar years 2019 and 2020.” or $1,264,000,” for 2019 and 2020.
Before the proposal was put to a vote, BPCA board member Catherine McVay Hughes noted that the Alliance’s survey data indicated that, “average weekday daily ridership peaked in 2011 at 2,325. For 2018, it was 1,617, and for 2019 so far, it has been. 1,407. Is there clarification about why there has been this downward trend?”
Mr. Munson replied that, “the Alliances says it is linked to the overall drop in ridership for MTA, since 2011.”
The BPCA’s board then voted to approve funding for the service for two years.
The mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents and visitors. In addition to the Downtown Connection shuttle, the Alliance also provides local security and trash pickup, as well as operating the business improvement district, or BID, that covers the area south of Chambers Street.) The Alliance and its sister organization, the Downtown Lower Manhattan Association, also produce research, information, and advocacy designed to brand Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century central business district.
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