Press Releases

Press Release #16-064

Scott Gastel/Gloria Chin (212) 839-4850

Progress Report: New B44 Select Bus Service has Dramatically Improved Travel Time, Ridership and Safety Along One of MTA’s Busiest Routes

DOT/MTA Report finds a 15-31% improvement in travel times for the B44 SBS compared with the B44 Limited route along Brooklyn’s Nostrand Avenue

B44 SBS ridership jumped 10% from 2014 to 2015

The New York City Department of Transportation and MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) today released a joint B44 SBS – Nostrand Avenue Progress Report, which highlights dramatic improvements to travel time on one of Brooklyn’s most heavily trafficked corridors, where it arrived in November 2013. The report illustrates travel-time improvements of over 30%, exceeding all documented improvements among the eight previous Select Bus Service (SBS) routes across the five boroughs. The report also found a 10% increase in B44 SBS ridership from 2014 to 2015 as well as a decrease in traffic crashes along the route.

“The B44 SBS along Nostrand Avenue is a tremendous success story, among the biggest successes in the eight years that DOT and MTA have coordinated Select Bus Service,“ said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to bring Select Bus Service to even more communities underserved by subways is clearly validated by empirical results that show that B44 rides through central Brooklyn are now faster, safer and better.”

“It’s important to measure a program by its results,” MTA New York City Transit President Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim said. “The success of our joint SBS program, which started in 2008 with the Bx12 on Fordham Road in the Bronx, can be measured by the significant increase in ridership and decrease in travel times on all the routes receiving treatments. We’re seeing 20% faster bus service and 10-20% increases in ridership along our SBS routes.”

The B44 SBS service, Brooklyn’s first bus rapid transit line, debuted in November 2013, running from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay along Nostrand Avenue and adjacent streets (including Rogers and Bedford Avenues), carrying nearly 40,000 daily riders. The establishment of SBS along the route included extensive outreach to numerous community stakeholders, sensitive design treatments and a continuation of the strong partnership between NYC DOT and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s NYCT, which has thus far resulted in nine SBS routes on the ground and three more expected to be implemented this year. Prior to implementation, NYC DOT, NYCT and the Pratt Institute also surveyed over 350 businesses along Nostrand, Rogers and Bedford Avenues, which had been most concerned about SBS’ effect on deliveries and parking. Findings of the Progress Report also show that non-bus traffic travel times were maintained along the route, with small reductions in traffic volumes during peak periods, as well as an overall reduction in injuries where crossing distances were shortened or bus lanes were added.

Before the arrival of SBS Service on the B44, the third-highest ridership bus in Brooklyn, the route had been plagued by slow speeds, unreliable service and crowding. DOT and NYCT brought what has become the agencies’ standard Select Bus Service treatments to the route, which included: nearly 10 miles of bus lanes to better organize the street; off-board fare collection machines; transit-signal priority to hold lights green when buses approach; and real-time information kiosks, which continue to be installed along the corridor to let passengers know when their bus will arrive. A total of 20 bus bulbs and curb extensions were also added along the route, which serve riders by widening the sidewalks near bus stops and shortening street crossing distances. The reengineering has helped reduce crashes along the major Brooklyn avenues that comprise the route, all of which serve as Vision Zero Priority Corridors based on past crash history. Finally, the report also highlights changes that were made following project implementation in response to community feedback.

Overall the improvements noted in the B44 Progress Report include:

  • A 31% travel time improvement in the AM in the northbound direction
  • A 20% travel time improvement in the PM in the northbound direction
  • A 19% travel time improvement in the AM in the southbound direction
  • A 15% travel time improvement in the PM in the southbound direction

Another improvement planned for bus riders in Brooklyn is the reconstruction of the Williamsburg Bridge Bus Plaza at the northern terminus of the SBS line, a capital project through MTA NYCT and the Department of Design & Construction. The enhancements, including an indoor waiting area, will benefit thousands of bus riders in the borough.

Please read report here: