New bus plan for the East Side

June 7, 2010 3:20:57 PM PDT
Getting around the East Side of Manhattan could soon get easier and faster. The MTA has unveiled a plan for express bus lane on First and Second Avenues from Houston to 125th Street.

The new plan to speed up sluggish bus travel along first and second avenues is called Select Bus Service.

Riders here can't wait to see it, because right now they're either waiting for a bus or waiting on the bus.

"It'll be faster. It'll get me to work on time, get me home with the kids, help them with their homework," Stephanie Wellbeck said.

City leaders unveiled the plan, which calls for new, dedicated bus lanes; fewer stops along the route from Houston Street to 125th Street; and buses equipped with three doors so passengers can board and de-board more quickly.

"Anything that speed up this particular commute here is on my list of good things - absolutely," Lillian Rockwood said.

One reason why bus rides can take so long is passengers who hop on board, but then fumble around their pockets or purses looking for correct change or their MetroCard. If there's a long line of passengers, suddenly a quick stop becomes a lengthy wait.

To cut down on that delay, the new plan calls for bus ticket sales at yet-to-be-built sidewalk kiosks. In fact, passengers won't even have to show the ticket unless they're asked.

"They have an honor system in Vienna too. You don't present the ticket. You buy the ticket, you get on and nobody ever asks to see it. And it seems to work alright," Amaranth Ehrenhalt said.

"With painted bus lanes, off-board fare collection and increased enforcement, we can take a huge bite out of the delays in service today," Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC DOT Commissioner, said.

Some Upper East Side bus riders between 70th Street and 100th Street won't see the benefit of the dedicated bus lane, thanks to the ongoing construction of the second avenue subway.

Street resurfacing for the bus lanes begins next week. The new curbside ticket machines should be in place by the fall.

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