On Sunday, New York City transportation officials introduced Select Bus Service on 34th Street, a major crosstown artery that serves high-traffic destinations like Madison Square Garden, Penn Station, the flagship Macy’s store and the Empire State Building. Something had to be done. The old buses carried some 17,000 riders a day along the corridor, at an average speed of less than 5 miles per hour.
The select buses stand to do considerably better. They require riders to pay their fare at stops, rather than on the bus, allowing them to enter at any of the bus’s three doors. That cuts down the amount of time a bus idles at a stop. (Occasionally officials will board the bus and request a proof-of-payment receipt.) In addition, the buses will glide along on dedicated, painted lanes whose exclusive rights to the passage are enforced by security cameras. Additional upgrades are planned for next year, including transit-signal priority and expanded curb bulbs.
For the past year or so the city has used select service for buses on 1st and 2nd Avenues. City officials released an official report [PDF] this week on the success of that line. The results are impressive. Ridership on the select bus service has increased more than 10 percent, even while bus ridership across the city as a whole has fallen:
The rising popularity has a lot to do with the route’s efficiency. Whereas the previous limited bus needed nearly 81 minutes to complete its 125-block route, with 19 minutes spent idling at bus stops, the select buses need only about 68 minutes to make the same trip and idle for just 12 minutes. All told, ridership has increased by about 10,000 passengers a day. That’s 3.65 million people a year.
Read the entire article at: The Atlantic Cities
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