STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- A fleet of new state-of-the-art buses are being rolled out on Staten Island as part of the MTA's plan to modernize bus service in the borough.
The MTA and Rep. Max Rose announced that the 77 new buses will be put into service this year, along with a new contactless fare payment system.
The system is designed to speed entry and allow all-door boarding.
Staten Island is the first borough where riders can tap to pay on buses using the new OMNY system.
The new buses will be along local and select bus service routes across the borough this year, with 50 new coach buses to be purchased and put in express bus service in 2021.
"Our Staten Island customers are amongst our most vocal and dedicated customers because they rely on our buses far more than riders in other boroughs, which means we absolutely must get bus service right on Staten Island," said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford. "We still have work to do, but the future of public transit is very bright on Staten Island thanks to this new fleet of buses and our myriad work to add new service where possible and enhance existing options."
"These new buses are just one step towards getting Staten Island the mass transit system we deserve, and I'm proud to be working with the MTA to ensure that this is only the beginning," said Rose. "Getting where you need to go on time isn't too much to ask, and I know that with these new buses on the road, Staten Islanders can expect a more reliable, fast, and comfortable commute."
The new buses are equipped with modern customer amenities such as USB charging ports, Wi-Fi and digital screens, and safety technology such as a pedestrian turn warning system and cameras. They replace Orion Hybrid buses from 2009 currently in service on Staten Island, and will be used on routes operating out of the Yukon Bus Depot, which includes S79 Select Bus Service.
Byford said new Staten Island Railroad cars are also coming soon.
And studies are underway for rail service on the North and West shores.
Byford discussed the borough's commuting initiatives with Rose at the Yukon Bus Depot.
Rose said after being a long neglected "commuting nightmare," Staten Island is finally a transportation priority.
"Far from being the forgotten borough, Staten Island is leading the way," Byford said.
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Fleet of new state-of-the-art buses rolled out on Staten Island