M14 SBS: Keeping Buses Moving on 14 St and the Lower East Side

Checking in on Improvements Along 14th Street

Preliminary results are in, and Select Bus Service combined with New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYCDOT) pilot of Transit & Truck Priority (TTP) are keeping buses moving along 14th St.

With the launch of SBS, we set out to improve your experience on the bus by increasing the speed of trips, decreasing travel time, and improving ridership on the route, which had seen steady declines. Our initial data shows it’s working.

Trips are getting faster

Combined, SBS and TTP are speeding up crosstown trips. Travel time between 3rd and 8th avenues has decreased 30%, averaging just 10.6 minutes. In September 2018, that same trip took an average of 15 minutes on the M14.

Buses are getting more reliable

SBS, including better bus stop spacing, and TTP are improving the reliability of bus service.

  • Wait assessment, which measures how evenly buses are spaced, increased to 86% in October 2019 from 71% in September 2018.
  • On-time performance jumped to 68% in October 2019 from just 45% in September 2018.

More customers are riding the bus

Following the launch of SBS in July, ridership on the M14 increased by:

  • 37% on Saturdays
  • 29% on Sundays
  • 15% on weekdays, reaching 30,195 average weekday riders

In early October, TTP was implemented. Weekday ridership increased by an additional 17%, to approximately 31,000.

What's Next?

In the next phase of improvements, we’re installing new bus-boarding platforms as part of the TTP pilot. Bus boarders, as they’re known, make it easier for customers to get on and off buses, provide more room for pedestrians on the sidewalk, and help speed up service. Read more about them and see where we’re installing them here.

Later this fall, we'll expand the new Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) system to M14 buses to help protect bus lanes. ABLE launched on the M15 bus route October 7 and on the B44 on October 30. Read the release about how the ABLE system works here.

For more information on the success of the 14th St Busway, see our press release.

Launching SBS and TTP

On July 1, 2019, we introduced Select Bus Service on the M14 A/D in in coordination with New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT).

On October 3, 2019, NYCDOT launched the pilot of its Transit & Truck Priority design on 14th St to support faster, more efficient service for M14 A/D SBS buses. From 6 AM-10 PM, seven days a week, only buses and trucks will be permitted on 14th St between 3rd and 9th Avenues. Get all the details about the pilot program here.

M14 SBS Proposal vs M14 SBS Final Plan

Developing SBS for the M14 A/D involved a substantial amount of data collection, analysis, and feedback from the communities served by the routes. We shared our original proposal with communities and elected officials earlier this year to get your feedback.

The final plan incorporates some of that feedback into the service we will provide starting July 1. Some of the stops originally recommended for removal along the A and D branches to help improve reliability and decrease travel time have been restored. We’re also testing out the feasibility of maintaining stops that serve Abingdon Square over the next nine months.

Goals for M14 SBS

With the launch of SBS on the M14 A/D, we plan to:

  • Increase the speed of trips
  • Decrease travel time aboard the bus
  • Increase ridership
  • Improve your experience

Throughout the initial phases of SBS on the M14, we will monitor and measure performance to ensure that we are achieving these goals. Past SBS implementations show that these goals are attainable with the tools we will use on the M14.

What Makes SBS Work

Select Bus Service combines different improvements developed to keep buses moving and give you more reliable service:

  • Off-board fare payment and all-door boarding means customers can board the bus faster, and buses spend less time at the stop.
  • Better bus stop spacing means buses spend less time leaving and re-entering traffic, keeping them moving along the route.
  • Dedicated bus lanes, enforced by cameras, mean fewer cars blocking lanes, keeping buses moving.

SBS also gives us the opportunity to improve your experience with:

  • Bus boarding curb extensions to increase the accessibility of bus service
  • New leaning bars and benches at bus stops
  • Real-time bus arrival information at stops

Since 2008, we’ve introduced 18 SBS routes across the five boroughs. We found that:

  • SBS customers are 10 to 15% more satisfied than local or limited bus customers.
  • SBS improves travel time by 10 to 30%.
  • City-wide, SBS routes are 27% faster than other local or limited-stop bus routes.

A chart displaying overall customer satisfaction with Select Bus Service vs Local and Limited Bus Service