Nearly 2.5 million New Yorkers rely on the MTA’s network of more than 300 bus routes each day. However, an average NYC bus, spending half of its travel time stuck at a red light or bus stop, travels at a speed of only 5.7 mph, which is among the slowest in the world. With the emergence of ride-hailing services, the MTA ridership has suffered a 14 percent decrease in ridership since 2007. To adapt to meet the needs of millions of commuters, New York City Transit unveiled a Bus Action Plan on Monday, April 23rd. The plan was described as a transformative vision to deliver the improvements that New Yorkers want.
Elements of the Bus Plan include:
- A modern network: the MTA will redesign the bus route network and adjust services based on customer input, demographic changes, and travel demand analysis.
- Expansion of bus priority: to help significantly reduce the wait time at intersections, the MTA will expand the implementation of Transit Signal Priority technology. The MTA will also expand bus lanes, queue jumps, exclusive busways to give buses full access in major congested areas.
- Effective traffic enforcement: the MTA will also advocate for strengthened NYPD enforcement of bus lanes and dedicated transit-priority traffic teams to focus enforcement in key congested areas.
- Speeding up boarding: in order to make the bus boarding process more efficient, the MTA will install tap readers and introduce all-door boarding. In addition, the MTA will continue to explore cashless options as a new fare payment system.
- Improving customer experience: the MTA will implement and enhance technologies such as digital information screens, real-time bus arrival information and seat availability, customizable and location specific maps, and ‘next bus’ signs across all of its services, to make traveling simpler and more efficient for the commuters.
- Proactive service management: the MTA is opening a new command center to improve communications and utilize real-time data more effectively.
- Enhancing our fleet: the MTA will focus on transitioning to a zero-emission fleet to improve air quality in the city. The MTA will also evaluate new bus designs to expand service options and ensure reliability.
The bus action plan is a great step towards for a more sustainable mass transit system in our city. NYLCV has been a strong advocate for many of the proposals included in the plan. As a crucial next step, NYLCV recommends NYCT provide the public with attainable benchmarks and measurable outcomes for assessing progress. We believe that this plan is an outline to a better bus system, and what we need now is a detailed roadmap that can not only help decrease NYC’s carbon footprint but also provide millions of commuters with a public transit system that’s more reliable and efficient.