Roadblocks on “Select Bus Service”

The southeast Queens extension of SBS to double in cost; timeline extends nearly a decade.

It looks like select bus service, the city’s version of bus rapid transit, in New York City is hitting another series of roadblocks.  For starters, the cost has nearly doubled, and the anticipated timeline has skyrocketed from just one year to almost a decade.  Why? We have no concrete answer.

This expansion, intended to provide more adequate and reliable public transportation methods to southeastern Queens is a goal of Mayor de Blasio to be the start of the fastest bus service in the city.  However, this anticipated reality will remain more of a dream.

As identified through project designs, a full-scale bus rapid transit system is nearly impossible as it claimed to require full scale road reconstruction to build designated bus lanes, “New York City is an immensely complicated place to build things and certainly we’ve discovered in roadway work that almost always involves looking at the water and sewer infrastructure underneath, which in the case of this city is often over 100 years old,” Polly Trottenberg, de Blasio Transportation Commissioner.

The fate of the success of this expansion of SBS is still hazy.  We have seen expansion projects take place on already existing bus lines, but the goal to extend into Queens will allow for new line to be formed, reducing the lengthy and inconsistent commute that residents in this area of the borough must take.  

The project is going to be implemented in phases, and due to the stages of design and layout of this new plan is what has begun to extend the timeline, as well as lead to inconsistencies in the city’s delivery on the projects they propose.  Many Council Members, such as Donovan Richards are very eager to get this project started, being one of the districts that any form of increased service would provide for more adequate transportation for his constituents.

It is time to take advantage of one of the most resilient transportation systems seen during a time of crisis, and form a seamless way for operation throughout the city.