New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority-New York City Transit (MTA-NYCT) President Carmen Bianco and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito today announced the launch of the M60 Select Bus Service, the city’s seventh SBS route, serving 125th Street in Manhattan and LaGuardia Airport in Queens. The 125th Street corridor sees 33,000 daily passengers, including 10,000 on the M60 alone, and is an important crosstown route and inter-borough link between jobs centers in Manhattan and Queens, including Harlem’s commercial center and LaGuardia. The six existing SBS routes have reduced passenger travel times by 20 percent and increased ridership by 10 percent, and Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to bringing 20 lines to key corridors across the boroughs.
“Thanks to sped-up bus service in the heart of Harlem, riders will see much-improved crosstown travel times, better inter-borough connections between 125th Street and other major job centers in Manhattan and Queens, and quicker trips to LaGuardia Airport,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
“The continued expansion of SBS services throughout the city is changing the way our customers think about taking the bus and the M60 will now change the way customers think about getting to and from LaGuardia. Select Bus Service is designed around the philosophy of speed, efficiency and convenience which combine to make bus riding more pleasant and less time consuming,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “We have seen tremendous support and positive feedback for SBS and look forward to working with our partners to expand it to other high-capacity routes.”
“This new service will save customers precious time and provides an easy connection to several subway lines as well as Metro North. It will benefit Harlem residents who rely on efficient bus service along 125th Street every day and will make getting to the airport easier from upper Manhattan,” said NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “The City’s economy depends heavily on our mass transit system and making improvements like SBS provides enormous benefits for everyone.”
“The New York City Council has long-advocated for increased Select Bus Service, and today we’re here to announce its expansion into one of the city’s most vibrant communities,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The 125th Street M60 SBS will speed up the commutes of more than 30,000 bus passengers who travel the 125th street route daily and will connect LaGuardia Airport to the heart of Harlem, boosting access and economic growth for small businesses. This is the kind of responsiveness New Yorkers want to see in their government, and I’m glad to be here today on behalf of New York City Council and my constituents in Harlem to announce this boon for the community.”
“The new M60 Select Bus Service route will help to fix one of the slowest bus routes in the city, finally allowing buses to move faster than pedestrians on 125th street,” said NYC Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “The new features of the route will get New Yorkers to the airport faster and will streamline bus traffic on one of the most clogged corridors in the city. The expansion of Select Bus Service is helping to lower travel time and extend efficient transportation options into undeserved communities. I’m glad to see this partnership between the DOT and the MTA working to better serve New Yorkers.”
“The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) is glad to see the changes that the SBS service will make to the neighborhood around the 125th Street Corridor. The improvements to the streets will not only cut down on bus times for those traveling in Manhattan and to and from Queens, it will undoubtedly make the streets safer for those with disabilities who are navigating the busy area. This is consistent with the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of MOPD. “DOT is working closely with MOPD and disabled advocates to ensure that accessibility needs are addressed in all their designs.”
“125th street commuters don’t have to put up with the slowest route in the city any longer – Select Bus Service will be a real improvement for Harlem residents taking the bus to work our school,” said Senator Adriano Espaillat. “Our community needs faster transit, cleaner air and safer streets, and Select Bus Service is a proven way to achieve this. It’s been a long process to make this faster service a reality, but I know it will be a success.”
“Select Bus Service will deliver faster and better bus service for the 17,000 riders who board the M60 bus every day,” said Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Less traffic congestion and better transit service will help improve the mobility of all who use the M60 bus route, and particularly the Harlem residents, visitors and shoppers alike who board along the vibrant 125th Street commercial corridor.”
“The introduction of Select Bus Service on the M60 route is great news not only for those travelling to LaGuardia Airport, but also for the many Astoria commuters who utilize the M60 for speedy access to and from Manhattan,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “This new service will reduce travel times by as much as 20%, help to alleviate roadway congestion, and streamline the boarding process for the thousands of riders who use this route each day. I applaud the MTA and DOT for making this improved service a reality, and urge a continued focus on transit enhancements throughout the rapidly-growing community of western Queens.”
“I applaud the MTA for upgrading the M60 bus service and creating more efficient access between Manhattan, western Queens, and LaGuardia Airport,” said Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. “The services the MTA provides are invaluable to both New Yorkers and visitors to our city, and this upgrade will benefit millions of people.”
“Select Bus Service along the M60 route on 125th Street will bring us closer than ever to the goal moving New Yorkers more safely and efficiently along this and other busy streets,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “This project will help achieve Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero goal by bringing more order to this major corridor. It is the most recent example of the demand for better bus service around the five boroughs—a need that Mayor de Blasio is meeting with his plan to a build a network of Bus Rapid Transit routes to connect New Yorkers to jobs, schools and other opportunities across the city.”
“Today we celebrate a significant step toward transit equity by welcoming Select Bus Service to Harlem and Western Queens on the M60! Until today, getting across 125th Street on the bus has been snail slow, and traveling between the boroughs on a bus a near impossibility. Converting the M60 to SBS will offer improved access for the lower-income and communities of color along the route that are heavily reliant on public transit,” said Elena Conte, Senior Organizer for Planning and Policy at Pratt Center for Community Development.
“Faster and more reliable SBS on 125th Street,” said Cate Contino, coordinator of the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. “A match made in heaven.”
The M60 SBS, featuring three-door articulated buses branded with the blue SBS logo, replaces M60 local service with fewer stops to speed travel times, while the M100, M101, Bx15 and the Q19 will continue to serve all local stops in both boroughs. The service incorporates on-street fare collection machines that allow passengers to pay before they board, as well as dedicated bus lanes along the portions of the corridor where passengers are most often delayed. As part of an extensive outreach process, DOT and MTA conducted over 50 meetings with the community and elected officials over a two-year period, reaching out to four community boards and hundreds of merchants. The community outreach behind this important project also included open houses, business surveys and meetings with elected officials.
SBS has increased ridership and improved bus service, speed and reliability along the six existing corridors, including along 34th Street and First and Second avenues in Manhattan, Fordham Road and Webster Avenue in the Bronx, Nostrand/Rogers avenues in Brooklyn and Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island. SBS enhancements along the M60 line are similarly expected to reduce travel times by up to 20 percent, cutting over ten minutes off the 56-minute trip between Morningside Heights and LaGuardia Airport. The project will also include improved passenger information, with 14 new wayfinding panels featuring neighborhood maps and real-time bus arrival time displays, like those currently in service on Nostrand Avenue.
The M60 corridor travels between multiple neighborhoods, serving 125th Street between Morningside Heights and East Harlem, as well as Astoria, East Elmhurst and LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Building on DOT’s LaGuardia Airport Access Study, the project will further improve access to that important job engine, joining the Q70 Limited which serves the 74th Street E/F/M/R/7 station in Jackson Heights and the subway and the Long Island Rail Road and 7 train station in Woodside, as well as a planned extension of the Webster Avenue SBS to the airport in the coming years.
In preparation for the M60 SBS, the DOT and the MTA installed over a mile of red bus lane markings, improved signage and off-board fare payment machines. The agency also updated parking regulations along the 125 Street corridor to include metered parking that better reflects the heavy commercial demand for curbside access, while adding over 200 residential parking spots on 124th and 126th Streets. Other improvements include new or enlarged bus shelters at 14 stops. The approximately $3.7 million project is being funded through a combination of Federal, State and City funds.
The launch of the City’s latest SBS route is first step toward Mayor de Blasio’s commitment of $90 million in his recent budget in order to reach 20 routes citywide, providing reliable and sustainable transit options as well as better connections to retail and job centers. For more information about DOT and Select Bus Service, please visit nyc.gov/dot.