Select Bus Service on First and Second Avenues

On October 10, 2010, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and the MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) inaugurated Select Bus Service (SBS) on the M15 line on First and Second Avenues. M15 SBS uses Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) features such as off-board fare collection and bus-only lanes to increase speed and reliability. In the year since service began, ridership on the M15 has increased by 9%, speeds have improved by 15 to 18%. Read the Report on the first year of Select Bus Service on First and Second Avenues. Watch a video on riding the M15 SBS View the MTA service schedule for M15 SBS

First Avenue/Second Avenue SBS in brief

  • Service from South Ferry to 125th Street
  • SBS service between 6 am–11 pm northbound (5 am for southbound)
  • Local M15 service 24 hours a day
  • The fare is the same regular bus fare
  • Pay with your Metrocard or using coins at a sidewalk fare payment machine.

Street Design

The primary goals in the design of First Avenue/Second Avenue SBS are to improve transit service, pedestrian safety, and bicycle access. The design draws on components that have proven successful on other corridors in New York City, such as Fordham Road in the Bronx and Eighth Avenue/Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. The design includes a range of treatments, each responding to the varied traffic levels, street width, and curbside access needs found on the corridor. Download a map of street design features on First & Second Avenues (pdf)

Nineteen elected officials on Manhattan's East Side called on DOT to bring Select Bus Service and protected bike paths to First and Second avenues, saying that the project would enhance transit and save lives. Download the letter

offset bus lane
curbside bus lane
fare collection machine
protected bike path

Current First/Second Avenue SBS design features:

  • Offset bus lanes or curbside bus lanes from Houston Street to 125th Street.
  • Off-board fare collection
  • Parking-protected or curbside bike lanes from Houston Street to 34th Street on both avenues.
  • Upgrade to the existing bike lane on First Avenue between 72nd Street and 125th Street
  • Pedestrian refuge islands at selected intersections below 34th Street to help reduce crossing distances for pedestrians.
  • Simple service pattern and extended service hours

Future Transit and Street Design Improvements

DOT and NYCT will continue to implement additional improvements to the M15 SBS in 2011 and 2012. New features will include:

  • Bus bulbs at select stations between Houston Street and 125th Street
  • Transit signal priority between Houston Street and South Ferry
  • Additional pedestrian and bike improvements throughout the corridor.

DOT will work with the Community Advisory Committee on these features, and with community boards and other groups throughout the process. Contact us to stay informed about meetings on future improvements to First and Second Avenue SBS.

In response to requests from the community, DOT has proposed parking protected bicycle paths on First Avenue from 60th to 125th Streets and on Second Avenue from 125th to 100th Streets. Learn more about the proposed bike lanes for First and Second Avenues in 2012

Community Outreach

Community Advisory Committee

DOT and NYCT, in cooperation with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, have convened a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) to provide guidance in the design and implementation of SBS in this corridor. The CAC is comprised of a broad range of stakeholders, from elected officials to Community Boards to major area institutions. The role of the CAC is to

  • Provide opportunities for input as project design and implementation progress
  • Provide stakeholders with information to share with their constituencies about project details and outreach efforts
  • Ensure that key issues are identified and addressed
The CAC met every few months during the planning process for the project. To date, there have been five meetings of the CAC:
  • May 13, 2009: Project Introduction
  • September 23, 2009: Proposed Station Locations
  • January 14, 2010: Proposed Design
  • April 29, 2010: Proposed Parking and Curb Regulations
  • September 22, 2010: Construction Update, Transit Service, and Outreach Download the presentation
  • April 27, 2011: M15 SBS Performance Update, Traffic, Bicycle and Pedestrian Data, and 2011 Implementation Download the presentation

The CAC is expected to meet for a six month review of service and ridership results in the spring of 2011, and will continue to be involved in future improvements.

Community Boards

NYCT and DOT met with all Community Boards that the M15 SBS corridor passes through (Manhattan Boards 1, 3, 6, 8 and 11). These meetings provided an opportunity for the Board members and the public to learn about the project and give feedback and guidance during the project's planning and implementation. Download the presentation made to Community Board 6 on June 7, 2010 Download the presentation made to Community Board 11 on June 9, 2010

Open Houses

Public open houses on the project took place on March 18 and September 27, 2010 at the Philips Ambulatory Care Center at Beth Israel Hospital and on March 24 and September 28, 2010 at the Temple of Israel of the City of New York. Nearly 200 members of the general public attended these events, which allowed attendees to speak one-on-one with project staff and provide input about the project.

Project Timeline

  • 2006: NYC BRT study selects 1st/2nd Ave as one of five BRT corridors for further development
  • 2008: 1st/2nd Ave identified as next SBS corridor for implementation
  • May 2009: Community Advisory Committee meeting #1
  • June 2009: Tour of Fordham Road SBS for CAC members
  • September 2009: Community Advisory Committee meeting #2
  • December 2009: Meeting with Community Board 1
  • January 2010: Community Advisory Committee meeting #3
  • February-March 2010: Meetings with Community Boards 3, 6, 8, and 11
  • March 2010: Public Open Houses
  • April 2010: Community Advisory Committee meeting #4
  • June 2010: Road resurfacing begins, additional meetings with Community Boards 6, 8, and 11
  • September 2010: Second round of Public Open Houses, Community Advisory Committee meeting #5
  • October 2010: Current Street Design complete
  • October 10, 2010: Select Bus Service launch
  • 2011-2012: Installation of bus bulbs, transit signal priority and additional pedestrian and bike improvements; continued community outreach through Community Advisory Committee meetings, Community Board presentations, and public open houses.