New York City has the slowest buses in America. Travel time on 25 city routes is longer than the scheduled Amtrak run between New York and Philadelphia. Since 1990 bus ridership has increased nearly 60% and today, 2.5 million passengers ride the buses each day. Despite this growth, bus speeds have remained stagnant or gotten worse.
But there is a solution! Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) represents the most economical way for New York City to speed up its dismally slow buses and meet the travel demands of its growing population.
The MTA and the City have already begun to bring this service to New York City with BRT Phase I. The first Select Bus Service (SBS) route opened in June of 2008 on Fordham Road in the Bronx. The benefit to riders has been very positive with 19% reductions in run times, 11% increases in daily riders and 98% customer satisfaction. NYCDOT and MTA are working to bring at least four more routes to NYC in the next few years. The forthcoming BRT services on First/Second Avenues in Manhattan and Nostrand/Rogers Avenues in Brooklyn have been jointly funded by the MTA and City Department of Transportation.
Phase I BRT Program
Fordham Road -
Pelham Parkway Corridor
Bx12 SBS launched in June 2008
Nostrand/Rogers Corridor B44 Bus Route
(coming in 2012)
1st /2nd Avenues M15 Bus Route
(launched October 2010)
34th Street SBS
(off-board fare collection launching November 2011, full build in 2012)
Hylan Boulevard Corridor
S79 Bus Route
(planning underway for a revised project design)
The MTA’s Proposed 2010-2014 Capital Program (pdf), revised in April 2010, includes $135 million in funding to implement the three remaining Phase I BRT corridors – 34th Street in Manhattan, Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island and a third corridor that is not yet determined. $110 million is slated for 118 new buses and an additional $25 million for other BRT elements like new fare collection equipment, on-board cameras and transmitters to enable Traffic Signal Priority. However, the fate of financing the full five years of the MTA plan is up to the State legislature and securing stable funding for buses, equipment and roadway costs will continue to be a challenge.
In May of 2009 the MTA and the City released “Introduction to Bus Rapid Transit Phase II,” a comprehensive report assessing New York City’s transit needs, identifying over 30 potential BRT corridors throughout the City and a well thought out community engagement process. Once implemented, this will mean faster and more reliable service in every borough.
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Sponsored by the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, 9 Murray Street, 3rd fl., NY, NY 10007