De Blasio promises to increase NYC bus speeds and number of designated lanes

Posted On Thu, January 10, 2019 By

Posted On Thu, January 10, 2019 By In Policy, Transportation

Via Flickr

Significant improvements will be made over the next two years to the New York City’s outdated bus system, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce during his State of the City address on Thursday. A report released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer in 2017 found the city’s buses run at the slowest pace in the nation among large cities, traveling at just 7.4 miles per hour on average. The mayor aims to increase the bus speeds by 25 percent to just over 9 miles per hour by the end of 2020, as amNY first reported.

Slow speeds and unreliable service have caused the system to lose 100 million passengers in nearly the last decade, the comptroller’s report found. This is in part due to meandering bus routes, bus stops too far apart, and an outdated fleet. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is not replacing buses after the recommended six years, with the average NYC bus nearly eight years old.

To address these problems, the city plans on increasing the miles of bus lanes it installs every year, from seven to up to 15 miles. And notably, a pilot program will launch this year that will install two miles of separate bus lanes.

This would keep parked cars from blocking bus lanes, one of the biggest causes of slowed service. The mayor also plans on establishing dedicated tow truck teams within the Police Department to enforce the clear bus lanes.

In August, the MTA announced it would not expand select bus service as originally planned as a way to cut costs as it faces a major financial crisis. But de Blasio said on Thursday he plans on advocating for the rollout of the SBS expansion program, which would include new routes.

The mayor’s recommendations closely align with an improvement plan released last April by NYC Transit head Andy Byford. Byford’s plan included bringing improvements like double-decker, electric buses, all-door boarding, electronic tap-to-pay readers, and real-time data for riders.

[Via amNY]

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