Board Votes Unanimously to Green Light Plan to Modernize Bus Network to Ensure Faster Connections and Quicker Travel Times
Revamped Bronx Local Bus Network to Launch in Summer 2022
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced that following an extensive public consultation period the MTA Board approved the Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign Plan — the MTA’s first borough-wide redesign of a local bus network to fit the needs of today’s riders. This transformative plan improves local, limited and Select Bus Service (SBS) routes, and is expected to be implemented in Summer 2022. There are currently no changes to Bronx express routes.
The redesigned bus network will offer Bronx and upper Manhattan residents a more direct, efficient and reliable bus service that provides better connections, with increases in service, including during off-peak periods. The redesign plan included a robust consultation process that incorporated the comments of elected officials, community organizations, and a diverse range of riders of all backgrounds. For further details on the plan, click here.
“The MTA is committed to transit equity,” said MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “Faster buses, more efficient routes, and a bus network that fits how and where New Yorkers want to travel — that’s how we are going to bring jobs, education, and opportunity to every community.”
“The MTA is committed to providing riders with the most seamless journey to where they need to go,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. "The Bronx Bus Redesign is the result of robust public outreach and listening to our customers just as we did for our Staten Island roadmap. It will undoubtedly improve bus speeds for thousands of commuters across the borough with more efficient routes that will help riders get to their destination at a much quicker pace."
“Bronxites in every corner of the borough will now be able to take advantage of the MTA’s vast bus network at much faster speeds than before with the implementation of the Bronx Bus Network Redesign next summer," said MTA Bus Company President Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. "The MTA is committed to continuing the work to improve our transit system by increasing bus speeds, promoting public transportation ridership, and bringing New Yorkers back to the system.”
Increased Frequency of Buses by Building an All-Day Frequent Network
Bus service during off-peak periods has been bolstered to provide service consistently throughout the day, which allows for easy and flexible travel. Frequent service allows customers to change plans and rely on the transportation network.
More Direct Routings
Streamlined routes bring bus customers to key destinations at a faster pace because buses avoid congested areas and travel on direct routes. Routes that have significant number of turns and take roundabout paths are slower in speed.
Balanced Bus Stop Spacing
Too many bus stops too close together significantly slow down bus service and worsen reliability. New York City’s bus stops are closer together than most other cities across the country and around the world. Removing a bus stop can save up to a minute or more of travel time for everyone on the bus.
Many bus customers, especially those in the Bronx, make transfers to reach their final destinations. This plan works to enhance east-west connectivity across the borough by facilitating transfers and reducing wait times for buses. Four routes will be extended and three will make key connections to subway stations with free transfers.
The redesign of the Bronx Bus Network will improve travel times and bus reliability for bus customers in the borough. The MTA will continue to monitor ridership patterns and incorporate necessary changes in the bus network to better match bus service with current and future travel demands.
“The most valuable thing in the world is time,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “When folks are going two or three hours to and from work or school that’s time taken away from their lives and families. I have to thank the MTA and New York City Transit for how you’ve treated my borough and the leadership of my borough on the Bronx Bus Redesign. You guys have been incredible and I want to go on record and say publicly that I admire all of the efforts you’ve given to hear the community out and also to address their concerns and pivot where you needed to be. That’s the way that government and services should work.”
“The Bronx for far too long has been at a disadvantage when it comes to transit equity and public transportation access," said Council Member and Bronx Borough President-Elect Vanessa Gibson. "Many residents in the East Bronx and other parts of our borough live in transit deserts miles away from the nearest train station and have to rely on our buses or the Metro-North to get to their destination. We know unfortunately for a variety of reasons that our buses run very slowly and sometimes infrequently, causing longer commute times for riders. With this Bronx Bus Network Redesign Plan, priority is given to improving the speed and frequency of buses in the Bronx for the thousands of commuters that rely on it as their sole means of public transportation.”
“The need for modernized bus infrastructure throughout the borough is well-documented,” said State Senator Jamaal T. Bailey. “For thousands of Bronxites who depend on bus service as their only means of transportation, this proposal will bring long-overdue improvements to increase efficiency, reduce wait times, and streamline commutes across the borough. I want to thank the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for prioritizing equity and accessibility throughout this collaborative process, hearing the voices of our community members, and commitment to ensuring their needs are reflected in the final plan with additional bus lines and increased service in the Northeast Bronx.”
“The Bronx Bus Network Redesign commits to prioritize improving accessibility and bus schedules, which will address transportation desert issues in many areas like District 12,” said Council Member Kevin C. Riley. “Our New York City buses are a major component to our transportation system that connects our constituents throughout their daily affairs. The Bronx Bus Network Redesign is transformative to serving our communities and taking steps forwards to improve bus infrastructure. Thank you MTA for your partnership in bringing effective change to the Bronx for our community members.”
“Buses support the people who support New York,” said Andrew Albert, Chair of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) and MTA Board Member. “They are the backbone of our transit system. Throughout COVID and with the extreme weather we’ve experienced, buses have come to the rescue of millions of New Yorkers. That’s why it’s so important that the redesigned Bronx bus routes meet riders’ needs by increasing the speed, efficiency, and reliability of the Bronx’s transit network. The current redesign will strengthen mobility with A.B.L.E., protected bus lanes, TSP, east-west connection priority corridors, and increased frequencies, and we thank the MTA for listening to riders’ needs and concerns throughout the redesign process.”
“The Bronx bus network is long overdue for a redesign. Despite a growing population and shifting employment centers, many bus routes still follow the same alignment as the trolleys they replaced over half a century ago,” said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "With a network redesign, hundreds of thousands of daily bus riders stand to benefit from better service and greater access to affordable housing, jobs, schools, and other critical services. We commend the MTA for restarting the redesign process, and we look forward to expanding on this success throughout all five boroughs.”
“We're eager for New York City Transit to implement the Bronx Network Redesign in the Summer of 2022,” said TransitCenter Senior Advocacy Associate Ashley Pryc. “By simplifying and streamlining routes, improving bus frequency, and working with NYCDOT to expand bus priority treatments this redesign has the power to drastically improve the lives of Bronx residents. Before the pandemic, Bronx buses crawled at an average of 6mph, making trips slow and unreliable. With the proposed redesign changes, Bronx riders can expect to see better crosstown service, better access to key destinations like hospitals and job centers, and more equitable service overall for riders that depend on buses the most.”
Additional Updates on Final Plan
The Bx6 SBS reroute to Story Avenue has been delayed until 2023 to coincide with the full deployment of OMNY across the city and the retirement of the MetroCard and associated SBS fare machines. While MetroCards are still in use, we would have to relocate the SBS fare machines in order to reroute the SBS service, which would be a significant expense. Installing and then uninstalling off-board fare machines along the future alignment in Soundview for just one year of use is not an efficient use of limited resources. The associate changes to the Bx5 and Bx6 Local schedules will also be postponed until 2023 when the Bx6 SBS realignment is implemented. In addition, all-door boarding will be launched on all bus routes in 2023.
Improving accessibility to the bus network is a top priority. The MTA will continue to roll out more than 500 buses with more flexible seating options in 2022. The new buses feature wider doors and ramps designed to make it easier to enter and exit the bus.
Expanding and Bolstering Bus Lanes
The MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) agree that bus lanes and busways are among the most effective tools for increasing bus speeds. Starting in 2022, NYCDOT will embark on major projects to add or improve 20 miles of bus lanes, including up to 5 new busway pilots, new bus lanes, and transit signal priority (TSP). These projects, developed over the next several months in coordination with the MTA, will be designed to serve bus riders in critical areas of the city. In 2021 NYC DOT implemented four new busways, 17 miles of new or upgraded bus lanes and busways, and added TSP to over 600 intersections. Meanwhile, the MTA also added 300 new buses with digital screens, new accessibility features, and awarded a contract for 60 battery-electric buses.