June 16, 2022
Joint Effort Will Bring Faster, More Reliable Bus Service, 150 Miles of New and Enhanced Bus Lanes, Busways Over Four Years
Technology Improvements Will Enhance Bus Lane Enforcement and Transit Signal Priority to Speed Up Buses
MTA Commits $200 Million to Expand Countdown Clocks, Upgrade Public Announcement Systems in Over 70 Subway Stations
City, MTA Reaffirm Collaboration on Subway Safety and Quality-of-Life Improvements
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair and CEO Janno Lieber today announced a new collaborative effort to tangibly improve transit service for New Yorkers, with an emphasis on advancing critical projects to make buses faster, more accessible, and integrated with other transportation options. The new improvements to overall transit system are the result of the first Transit Improvement Summit, a new quarterly effort from the city and the MTA to foster collaboration and continue delivering quality public transit for New Yorkers and visitors. It also builds on a successful partnership between the city and the MTA to promote public safety in the subway and provide services for New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
“This partnership is the definition of ‘Get Stuff Done,’” said Mayor Adams. “Together with the MTA, we are delivering the efficient, reliable bus network and transit system all New Yorkers and visitors to our great city deserve. And we will work closely with communities every step of the way to take these much-needed, bold steps together.”
“New Yorkers deserve a world-class transit system, and both the MTA and city leadership are committed to working together to bring real, tangible improvements for our riders,” said MTA Chair and CEO Lieber. “This is a new era of city-MTA collaboration that will speed up buses, make the subways safer and more reliable, and prioritize equity and accessibility in mass transit. I thank Mayor Adams and his team and look forward to our continued work ahead.”
The new collaboration will prioritize enhancements for the MTA’s bus network, a critical transportation option for millions of New Yorkers, particularly those who live or work outside of Manhattan. The MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will complete 150 miles of new and enhanced bus lanes and busways over the next four years, beginning with 20 miles in 2022 on the following corridors, which have total daily ridership of approximately 327,000 passengers, larger than the city of Cincinnati:
Additionally, NYCDOT will make permanent the Main Street busway in Queens, which launched as a pilot in January 2021. The busway has increased bus speeds by up to 50 percent and supports 155,000 riders per day.
The city and the MTA will also immediately launch planning and community outreach for the next round of new bus priority projects at the following locations:
These critical bus corridor priorities will complement ongoing bus network redesign projects to make service faster, more frequent, and more reliable. The Bronx Local Bus Network Redesign will be implemented on June 26, and public engagement on the Queens Local Bus Network Redesign draft plan is ongoing. The MTA will also release a draft bus network redesign plan for Brooklyn and kick-off public engagement by the end of 2022.
To further speed up buses, NYCDOT will expand automated enforcement and transit signal priority at traffic signals, installing 50 additional fixed bus lane cameras on new and existing bus lanes — on top of the previous commitment to install 50 cameras. The MTA will match this commitment by expanding the on-bus Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) program from the current 123 buses across seven routes on the ABLE program to another 300 buses by the end of 2022, covering an additional nine routes across all five boroughs. Current projections call for a further 600 bus addition by the end of 2023, and NYCDOT plans to add transit signal priority at 750 more intersections next year. To maximize the cameras’ impact, MTA and NYCDOT will jointly engage state lawmakers to advance future bus camera enforcement legislation in Albany that would (1) make the existing ABLE program permanent and (2) expand automated bus and stationary camera enforcement of certain city traffic rules — including double parking and illegal parking at bus stops — to speed up bus trips for riders across New York City.
The MTA and NYCDOT will also prioritize bicycle, micromobility, and pedestrian access to transit with improvements to bike infrastructure, additional bike parking, and siting of micromobility share systems near subway stations and major bus stops. The MTA will also ensure that pedestrian curb ramps that are impacted by capital projects are replaced by accessible curb ramps built to modern accessibility standards. This work will be formalized in the MTA’s Strategic Action Plan released at the end of 2022.
Building upon the successful partnership in the Subway Safety Plan, the MTA and the city will continue to address quality-of-life issues in the subway system, including cleanliness and lighting. With a $200 million commitment, the MTA will expand subway countdown clocks, improve public announcement systems, and integrate LCD signage at 71 subway stations most in need of upgrades. Currently in the design phase, this project will cover a wide range of neighborhoods, including:
In addition, the MTA and city are coordinating to combat fare and toll evasion, beginning with a crackdown on defaced and fraudulent temporary license plates, which cost the city and the MTA more than $100 million combined per year in lost revenue and are correlated to other criminal behavior.
As the partnership continues, the MTA and the city have agreed to collaborate in several critical areas for providing the transit system New York City deserves, including:
This new partnership comes as the city and the MTA have been successfully implementing the Subway Safety Plan with a focus on providing social services and access to shelter at end-of-line stations to New Yorkers sheltering in the subway system. As part of this effort, MTA and city staff working groups have been meeting regularly since January to craft solutions to New York City’s transit challenges and improve service for riders.
“A safe, high-performing, and reliable public transit system is a necessity if we are to realize a full economic recovery for the City of New York and the broader metropolitan region,” said New York City First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. “This renewed partnership between the city and the MTA will elevate a solutions-oriented approach that will produce results for the millions who depend on public transit every day.”
“To the riding public, we are one city, and through our renewed collaboration with the MTA, we will, as one city, improve and expand transit service for millions of New Yorkers who depend on it every day,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “The Transit Improvement Summit will bring tangible changes that are vital to our city’s economic, social, and environmental health.”
“New York City’s economic recovery and long-term vitality are inextricably tied to a successful transit system,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “That is why we are eager to deepen our partnership with the MTA and proactively shape and build the jobs, housing, and transit infrastructure necessary for a stronger and more equitable New York City.”
“Today’s summit is another happy milestone in the welcome new era of productive relations between New York City and New York State,” said NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “With the mayor’s relentless focus on equity, we now have an ambitious plan to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for the millions of bus riders across the five boroughs. We at DOT look forward to working with our MTA partners to build a safer and more efficient system, with more new and enhanced bus lanes, expanded automated enforcement, as well as new ways that our agencies will work together to improve access for the growing number of cyclists.”
“This partnership is improving the customer experience for everyone who uses New York City Transit,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “The commitment of Mayor Adams and his administration to this collaborative effort will make a difference, and I am excited to see the enhancements we discussed today improve the rider’s experience in the coming months.”
“Transit equity and transportation networks are vital to maintaining economic durability and essential to ensuring our communities can get to school, medical appointments, and work,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor Adams and the MTA for holding this inaugural transit summit and working to advance transit equity projects, many of which are in New York’s 13th congressional district. Today’s summit means a great deal to thousands of my constituents and New York City’s core riders overall — largely people with low incomes, people of color, and essential workers. I look forward to continuing this important work to increase equity within New York City’s transit system.”
“All New York City families deserve a quick, efficient, and safe public transportation system. But in a borough as sprawling as Queens, getting to work or school is more of a fantasy than fact for some families, especially those living in transportation deserts. By making the successful Flushing busway pilot program permanent and prioritizing high-trafficked areas in Northern and Western Queens for new bus lanes, we can begin to flip that script,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Meanwhile, the safety of subway stations in Southeast Queens and the quality of life for riders there have been a top priority of my Downtown Jamaica Improvement Council, and I’m grateful to the MTA for its pledge to make the critical investments necessary to improve the commutes of residents in that historically overlooked section of The World’s Borough.”
“Ensuring that our subways and buses are frequent, reliable, and safe ways are crucial to our city’s full recovery from the impacts of COVID,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “Expanding transit signal priority and bus lane cameras will be a game changer for many New Yorkers, and earmarking funding to improve subway cleanliness and lighting will help increase the safety of straphangers throughout the city. Prioritizing public transit is prioritizing the everyday lives of New Yorkers; I look forward to working with the mayor to see these changes realized.”
“The MTA has made significant and needed investments in Senate District 19 in recent years, and I applaud future efforts to improve transit on Flatbush Avenue,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “Regular Transit Improvement Summits have the potential to forge and sustain partnerships that will help achieve a stronger and more accessible system.”
“The underground and above-ground public transportation systems remain the arteries and veins that transport millions of New Yorkers to the outer boroughs and the heart of the city,” said New York State Assemblymember Inez Dickens. “It is imperative that the maintenance and upkeep of the largest metropolitan subway and bus systems continue as a consistent effort by our hardworking MTA employees. But more importantly, the safety of our riders is a paramount undertaking. Therefore, I congratulate Mayor Adams and the executive membership of the MTA in implementing a joint initiative to create a Subway Safety Plan to ensure our transportation passengers arrive to their destinations safely.”
“A city on the move is a city that thrives. When we reach our destinations faster, we have more time for work, school, and our loved ones,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “With this comprehensive plan, New Yorkers will have the fast, reliable, affordable, accessible, and safe transportation we need. Efficient public transit is also an engine of economic growth: As our buses accelerate, so too does our recovery.”
“As a proud resident who frequently uses Fordham Road, University, and Tremont Avenue, I understand firsthand the importance of investing in my district. The mayor’s new revitalization plan helps ensure that the many residents that call the Bronx home can continue to use their streets in a reliable and safe manner,” said New York State Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia. “The many residents who happen to the use these roads to commute will have a safe and reliable commute each time they enter the bus. I personally applaud the mayor for this investment and look forward to continue our partnership in bettering the lives of Bronx residents and visitors.”
“I applaud Mayor Adams’ initiative to think holistically and creatively on how much we need to reform our transit systems in New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farias. “Our transit infrastructure is what makes our city so unique, but it is also what is holding us back. We need to move away from the automobile- and Manhattan-centric routes established by Robert Moses that have had devastating consequences on our outer-boroughs — including increased risk of asthma and inability to access green space. We have to focus on protecting our pedestrians, bike and scooter riders, and our subway and bus goers. Expanded countdown clocks and improved communication in stations is a great start to making our subway system easier to navigate, but we also have to do more to make it truly accessible for our New Yorkers with disabilities. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Adams, the Department of Transportation, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to make sure every corner of this city can access their essential needs via public transit.”
“New Yorkers deserve only the best public transit, and I’m excited to partner with Mayor Adams and the MTA to make that statement a reality,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “We can’t stop working until our public transit is a leader among global cities.”
“We must make public transportation efficient, safe, and clean for New Yorkers from Midwood and Midtown — from Flatbush to Flatiron — from every corner of every district and borough. Mayor Adams and the MTA are fast-tracking a plan to enhance the Flatbush Avenue corridor bus lane, and ensure more reliable bus service across New York, making sure our transportation infrastructure matches the magnificence of our city,” said New York City Councilmember Farah Louis. “As these enhancements get underway, I will work with the local community to make sure these changes are implemented in a way that truly improves the quality of life of the people who rely on their services, from straphangers to residents who walk, bike, bus, and drive. This is the era of ‘getting stuff done,’ and that’s what this mass transit plan is all about.”
“Adding new and enhanced bus lanes is a critical step in improving transportation infrastructure in New York City and will save commuters countless hours,” said New York City Council Member Julie Menin. “As the Councilmember representing one of the densest neighborhoods with many hospitals and medical facilities, adding more public transportation accessibility is much needed for the disabled, elderly, families, and our workforce. I thank Mayor Adams and the MTA for making changes that will improve transit and New Yorkers quality of life.”
“The people of the Northeast Bronx have suffered far too long with less-than-adequate public transportation. I’m thrilled that the MTA and New York City Department of Transportation will complete 150 miles of new and enhanced bus lanes and busways over the next four years, including approximately four miles in 2022 on Westchester Avenue at Pelham Bay Park Station and along Gun Hill Road,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “The Bronx Bus Network Redesign started in 2018, and I hope to see it implemented in a way that makes service faster and more accessible. I’m also excited to see the reconstruction of the Westchester Square 6 stop, which will not only refurbish some of the existing infrastructure but improve service with updated technology and a new elevator system.”
“Bus riders are glad to see the city and the MTA working quickly together for faster and more reliable service,” said Betsy Plum, executive director, Riders Alliance. “Today’s announcement represents a down payment to New York’s millions of bus riders, overwhelmingly low-income people of color, and is a signal acknowledgement that bus riders' time is valuable. Riders look forward to seeing this administration build on past successes and scale up proven tools to deliver much faster buses citywide. New York has the most bus riders of any U.S. city, and, with this collaboration, we know we can have service that is the envy of every other city to match our record ridership.”
“The bus improvements announced today, particularly the details for 20 new miles of bus lanes and busways in 2022, mark a strong commitment by the Adams administration, MTA, and DOT to improving the city’s buses,” Megan Ahearn, program director, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign. “Bus lanes and busways speed up commute times and are critical connections for communities far from subways. We are excited for paint to start hitting the streets," said Megan Ahearn, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.
“The MTA and NYCDOT’s new quarterly Transit Improvement Summit marks a fresh start in the city-state relationship, an effort that will improve the riding experience for hundreds of thousands of daily bus riders in New York City,” said Renae Reynolds, executive director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “With traffic congestion on the rise and average bus speeds cratering as a result, targeted investments, including bus lanes, transit signal priority, and automated camera enforcement, will produce significant benefits for bus riders. We truly applaud Mayor Adams, NYCDOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, and MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber for continuing to prioritize sustainable and equitable transit on the city’s streets, particularly in bus-dependent communities.”
“By prioritizing people — especially those who ride the bus — over cars, we can make New York City streets healthier, fairer, and more sustainable,” said Danny Harris, executive director, Transportation Alternatives. “The plans announced today by Mayor Adams and the MTA will make a real impact on New Yorkers’ lives. Dedicated bus lanes make public transit a faster and more reliable transportation option. Dedicated bus lanes mean more access to jobs and greater economic opportunity. Dedicated bus lanes are also a key component of our NYC 25x25 vision and the NYC Streets Plan. Our streets must be a pathway to recovery and this strong collaboration on buses is an important initial step.”
“Improving bus service in New York City requires cooperation between the MTA and city government, and we are encouraged to see this level of collaboration,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO, Regional Plan Association. “Better bus service helps riders with faster commutes and is a win for social equity, the environment, and the economy.”
“The outcomes of today’s Transit Summit announced by the mayor and MTA are the result of a welcome partnership that will dramatically improve the lives of bus and subway riders in the city,” said Andrew Albert, chair, New York City Transit Riders Council. “Faster travel times for millions of bus riders will benefit the New Yorkers who count on the system’s workhorse, contributing to a more equitable system, as will ensuring that affordable fares remain available through discounts like Atlantic Ticket and City Ticket, and expanding Fair Fares. Improvements to neighborhood subway stations will improve the rider experience at exactly the time we need to do everything possible to get people back on board. Looking at improving connectivity with bicycle, pedestrian, and micromobility access will help get people to transit where they may have no other options — and we’re proud to be part of that solution, having made our recommendations to the MTA as called for in the Bike-Ped Access Law. Continuing the dynamic relationship between the city and MTA will contribute to a more robust and resilient system, and benefit riders — and the city’s economy — for decades to come.”