When Select Bus Service debuted along 1st and 2nd Avenues in early October, it had a rocky beginning especially in the press. East Siders couldn’t come to terms with the changes to their painfully slow local bus routes, and the media found faults with the new service from Day One.
Now that the East Side SBS has been on the road for four months, both East Siders and the city’s transit reporters are coming around to the new service. I’ve received numerous emails from riders who love the increased speeds and want to see this service elsewhere around the city, and in today’s Daily News, Pete Donohue praises the service. Although he references the “bumpy start,” which might be more a creation of the media than a reality on the ground, he notes that bus travel times have improved by 12-16 minutes or nearly 20 percent. Only Second Ave. Subway construction work (and the lack of truly dedicated lanes) is an impediment to even faster travel.
The MTA and NYC Department of Transportation offered up some statistics. Northbound travel from South Ferry to 126th st. now takes 62 minutes instead of 75 while southbound trips during rush hour can last 76 minutes instead of 88. The NYPD, meanwhile, has handed out 15,200 summonses to bus-lane violators, and 156 cars have been towed. When signal prioritization goes online this year, the trips should be even smoother. “The success of these first corridors in reducing travel times shows the enormous potential that exists if we can put ideas into play across the city,” Transit head Thomas Prendergast said.