The city is promising to ease the slog bus riders in the Bronx confront every day, with a major system revamp that transit officials unveiled in Mott Haven last Wednesday.
At a meeting of Community Board 1 on Oct. 29 at Metropolitan College, representatives from New York City Transit and the MTA presented Fast Forward: Bronx Bus Network Redesign, which they said is the result of data analysis and conversations with elected officials, community boards and Bronxites.
- Wait times for riders on the Bx4 and 4A in the Hub will be cut in half. Nine of the 48 stops along the Bx4A line will be removed, as will six along the Bx4. A rerouted Bx4A will run from Westchester Square to Southern Boulevard, using its current routing via Metropolitan Avenue and Westchester Avenue.
- The existing Bx15 that connects the Hub and Fordham Plaza will be split into two routes to improve reliability and speed. A new Bx15 Local and Limited service will cover the route at all times, as the route currently does on weekdays. A new M125 route will replace service between 125th Street in Manhattan and The Hub. The rethought Bx15 will aim to avoid the traffic delays and reliability issues that now plague it in Manhattan.
- In Hunts Point, the Bx6 Select Bus Service will no longer serve the neighborhood. That line will be rerouted along Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx River Avenue, and Story Avenue to a new eastern terminal at Turnbull and Pugsley avenues. Hunts Point will continue to be served by Bx6 Local Service, with new routing and additional connections for Bx5 riders and faster crosstown service along Story Avenue for Soundview residents.
- Specific stops along the Bx19, Bx41 and Bx41 SBS routes will be removed to speed up service. Currently distances between bus stops across New York City are the shortest of any major city in the world. The DOT hopes that reducing the number of stops will speed up service beyond a crawl.
The DOT says that 10 “priority corridors” will serve as the foundation for an “all-day bus service” network. Many bus corridors now have frequent service between the peak periods of 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m., but the transit service says it will bolster service so passengers can get around reliably during off-peak hours as well. E. 149th Street from River Avenue to Southern Boulevard is among the priority corridors.
New technology will be a factor in the upgrades. The DOT says it is “identifying types of service and frequency of service via our maps” by making them clearer and more intuitive, and the MTA intends to “bring real-time passenger information (RTPI) bus arrival data displays to bus stops, over the next few years.”
In addition, the Authority says it will add all-door boarding on all bus routes by 2021, to reduce the time it takes to board the bus and relieve overcrowding caused by front-door boarding and passengers not moving to the back of the bus. The new payment system, available on all buses and subways by the end of 2020, will allow customers to make tap-and-go fare payments with a smartphone or contactless credit or debit card.
Now that the final plan has been published, transit officials say they will be out and about in the Bronx to hear from the public. They encourage riders to submit a comment on the project website, where detailed information about public input sessions will be available.
The final plan will be promoted on digital screens, on social media at #BronxBusRedesign, and in literature distributed on buses.
Implementation is scheduled to begin next year after the MTA board votes on the plan.