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City Pilot Tests Bus Rapid Transit, With Or Without Congestion Pricing


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City Pilot Tests Bus Rapid Transit, With Or Without Congestion Pricing

Bobby Cuza

NY1 News


A big part of the mayor's congestion pricing plan is improving bus service and as NY1 Transit reporter Bobby Cuza finds in the following report, there are already plans underway that would radically transform bus service as we know it.


[imga=right]http://www.nyctransitforums.com/forums/photoplog/images/1/medium/1_IMG00131.jpg[/imga]Imagine how much faster buses could move without the long, slow procession of riders waiting to dip their MetroCards. On at least one bus route by this time next year, that'll be a thing of the past with bus stops configured to allow riders to pay before they board.


"We're trying to speed up all aspects of the system, whether it's the boarding, or de-boarding, or when you're in traffic,” says Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.


It's all part of a program known as bus rapid transit, a collection of measures designed to speed up buses. It's been done successfully in cities like Miami, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled this spring to see the program firsthand. It’s being tried out on five routes here in the city:



  • Along First and Second Avenues in Manhattan;
  • Pelham Parkway and Fordham Road in the Bronx;
  • Merrick Boulevard in Queens;
  • Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn;
  • Hylan Boulevard route in Staten Island that runs over the Verrazano into Bay Ridge Brooklyn.

The city had originally planned to implement bus rapid transit along two routes by this fall. But they're now going back and looking at ways to revamp the program using even more dramatic measures to increase bus speeds.


One of those measures is signal prioritization, which uses technology to alter traffic lights.


"When a bus hits an intersection, it gets a green light, when the rest of the traffic is given a red light. So it goes through an intersection first,” says Sadik-Khan.


Buses and the dedicated lanes they travel in would also be painted a distinct color. The city and MTA also want to mount cameras on the fronts of buses to photograph the license plates of any cars blocking the bus lane.


While improving bus service is a key element of the mayor's congestion pricing proposal, bus rapid transit will go forward regardless of whether congestion pricing is approved.


"Every day, over two million New Yorkers are using the bus system, so we are trying to find ways to improve that service,” says Sadik-Khan.



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