Service will provide 24,000 daily riders with faster, more reliable connections to subways, Metro North, and 20 bus routes along four miles from Manhattan to the Bronx; the fourteenth SBS route builds on Mayor’s commitment to SBS expansion across the five boroughs
NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today marked the first week of the Bx6 Select Bus Service (SBS) in Manhattan and the Bronx, a joint project of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and MTA NYC Transit (NYCT). The four-mile route currently serves approximately 24,000 daily riders, and will provide them with faster, more reliable connection to the 1,C,4,B,D,2,5, and 6 trains, Metro North, and 20 other bus routes. Across the city, SBS routes have reduced bus riders’ travel times by as much as 30 percent. One in ten bus rides are now taken on an SBS route.
The Mayor rode the Bx6 SBS today along 1.5 miles of East 161st Street between River Avenue and Intervale Avenue in the Bronx.
“Bus riders deserve faster, more reliable service,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For riders on the BX6, this Select Bus Service means getting to work on-time, and getting home to family faster. We have committed to bringing Select Bus Service to more communities because it is a proven solution that reduces travel time, increases bus reliability and helps us meet the goals of major initiatives – both for a safer city under Vision Zero and a more equitable one under OneNYC.”
“With Select Bus Service on the Bx6, riders in Harlem and the South Bronx will join the tens of thousands of riders Citywide who enjoy the tangible benefits of SBS, where off-board fare collection, all-door boarding, dedicated bus lanes, and Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) wayfinding totems together make buses faster, more convenient, and more reliable,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Given the route’s connections to other transit modes and the fact that 76% of households within a quarter-mile of the Bx6 do not own a car, the addition of SBS could make a major difference.”
DOT and MTA NYC Transit began data collection for the new SBS route in October 2015, developing the design concept with the goals of addressing congestion and bus boarding issues in front of court houses, improving pedestrian safety, traffic flow, and bus speeds, as well as providing faster and more reliable bus service. Community outreach began in November 2015, which included meetings with stakeholders, elected officials, and the community board, on-street outreach in Spanish and English at six locations along the route, and online feedback portals.
In Manhattan CB 9, 10, and 12, where the Bx6 travels from Riverside Drive West to 155th Street, DOT and MTA created five SBS stops, with off-board fare collection and Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) wayfinding totems. We also consolidated Bx6 stops on 155th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and St Nicholas Avenue which previously shared the same block. In Bronx Community Board 4 along 161st Street, DOT reconfigured the 2-lane 161st Street Tunnel by making the eastbound lane a bus only lane in order to improve bus speeds, and also added bus boarding islands to address boarding issues in front of the courthouses. DOT also added concrete curb extensions and painted pedestrian space from Yankee Stadium to Gerard Avenue. In Community Board 3, at the intersection of Elton Ave/ Washington Ave/ 163rd Street, DOT painted bus lanes, curb extensions, and added parking in order to enhance pedestrian safety and improve bus speeds. Eastbound bus lanes were also painted along 163rd Street from Tiffany Street to Southern Boulevard in Community Board 2. DOT also installed fare machines at each SBS stop and Real Time Bus Information (RTPI) wayfinding totems at most stops.
Earlier this summer, DOT released a report, Green Means Go, on Transit Signal Priority (TSP; report can be viewed here). The technology is used to speed buses, hold green lights for buses and more quickly turn red lights green. Currently active along five SBS bus routes, TSP has reduced bus travel times by an average of 18 percent. With MTA moving forward with its TSP procurement, DOT announced it would quadruple its installation rate, covering over 1,000 intersections total and 15 additional routes by 2020, including the Bx6.
Select Bus Service began on the Bx12 route along Fordham Road in the Bronx in 2008, bringing bus rapid transit to New York City for the first time. Select Bus Service features, such as dedicated bus lanes, signal priority, off-board fare collection, and all-door boarding have led to faster bus speeds, increased ridership, more reliable service, and safer streets. SBS Routes are currently along the following corridors:
Fordham Road/Pelham Parkway (Bx12),
First/Second Avenues (M15),
34th Street (M34/M34A),
Hylan Boulevard (S79),
Webster Avenue (Bx41),
Nostrand Avenue (B44),
125th Street-LGA (M60),
86th Street (M86),
Woodside-Jackson Heights Airport Connector, LaGuardia Link (Q70),
Utica Avenue (B46),
23rd Street (M23),
79th Street (M79)
“One of the most frequent concerns I hear from Bronx residents is the inability to easily navigate east/west travel in this borough, especially via public transportation. This new service, which will connect Northern Manhattan and the courthouse and stadium areas to the Hunts Point Market and everything in between through use of express stops and a dedicated bus lane will make it easier for Bronxites and others to travel to and from two of our most significant employment sites. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the DOT as well as the MTA for working with my office to implement this new service as smoothly as possible,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Better bus service in our city can be a gamechanger for communities not served by subways,” said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “By enhancing service on the Bx6, residents along the route will have a faster ride on a key east-west interborough connection. I am glad to see the city being aggressive in their efforts to improve bus service and look forward to more SBS routes in key areas. The connectivity provided with other forms of transit is important as well, with the Bx6 connecting to the Metro North and several subway lines.”
“Many times, the main factor in getting to a job interview on time, picking up a child or buying groceries after work is reliable and affordable transportation, which Bx6 SBS will provide to Bronxites. It’s a great day when our community is afforded more reliable, faster transit options. I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the entire administration for this collaboration to help the people of the 79th assembly district and throughout The Bronx. We have a long way to go but this is an exciting step to improving the quality services that Bronxites deserve and continues to show that we are #BuildingABetterBronx.” said Assembly Member Michael Blake.
“I am grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the MTA, NYCDOT and all other agencies and leaders involved in this SBS expansion in The Bronx. Our community greatly relies on bus service to commute daily and this expansion will enhance the reliability, quality and timeliness of that service. Furthermore, the expansion includes the assignment of traffic agents at 163rd Street and Southern Blvd., one of our busiest transportation hubs and high traffic areas to help facilitate this change and our residents commute,” said Assembly Member Marcus Crespo.
“Expanding select bus service brings this city closer to our goal of reliable transportation for all. I thank Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for their leadership and dedication to safer streets and better transportation options for New Yorkers,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.
“Improving bus service isn’t just about faster commutes: it’s about economic opportunity, social justice, and building a city where everyone can get ahead. Riding the bus can be slow and unreliable, with grave consequences for New Yorkers who rely on buses to get to work and school on time. The launch of the Bx6 Select Bus Service is a great step forward for 25,000 daily riders who can look forward to faster and more reliable commutes, with immediate improvements in their day-to-day lives. We appreciate the work that Mayor de Blasio, the New York City Department of Transportation, and the MTA have done to launch this valuable new SBS route and look forward to working with everyone to bring some of these improvements to bus service citywide,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of Riders Alliance.
“The start of Select Bus Service on the Bronx’s Bx6 route is welcome news for New Yorkers. Features like all-door boarding, bus lanes and limited stops will save riders time by improving travel speeds and making bus service more reliable, ” said Tabitha Decker, NYC Program Director for TransitCenter.
The launch of the Bx6 SBS route is the latest step toward Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commitment to reach 20 routes citywide, providing reliable and sustainable transit options as well as better connections to retail and job centers.