June 12, 2014
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – As New York City looks to the future, expanding bus service in the outer boroughs is a realistic option. While upgrading, updating, and adding subway lines in Manhattan will continue, providing more bus routes in the other borough is critical.
With additional mass transit needed for economic growth in the big apple, advocates, community groups, labor unions, and business organizations are coming together to advocate for bringing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) approach to New York City.
BRT is a mass transit option that combines the permanence, speed, and reliability of rail, with the flexibility of buses, at a fraction of the cost of a subway system. Full-featured BRT includes dedicated bus lanes along center medians, platform-level boarding, traffic signal priority to ensure pedestrian safety, and in-station kiosks that allow riders to pay fares prior to boarding. A comprehensive bus transportation expansion plan should add protected bus lanes and stations on the medians that make streets safer for pedestrians.
According to a December 2013 report by the Pratt Center for Community Development, over 879,000 New Yorkers commute more than an hour each way to work — half a million to jobs that earn less than $35,000 per year. The report identified several regions in the NYC area where improved mass transit options are particularly needed.
Connecting outer borough residents with increased reliable public transportation provides increased access to jobs and economic opportunity. Too many New Yorkers have limited transportation options. We need to add bus routes as we develop a comprehensive Bus Rapid Transit program that will improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.