MTA New York City Transit today announced its first-ever digital open house on Thursday, December 12, 2019 to enhance the agency’s existing public outreach efforts, with the inaugural web presentation planned to target Bronx residents and bus customers – particularly those with mobility challenges – seeking information on the final plan of the Bronx Bus Network Redesign. The proposed final plan was unveiled in October to improve bus service, add frequency, balance bus stop spacing, improve crosstown connections and improve service reliability for 675,000 customers who rely on Bronx buses every day by establishing a new baseline for service adjustments as customer needs change.
“Our bus network redesigns are customer-driven, which makes customer feedback a critical part of the process,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “We are always looking for new ways to connect with our customers and to provide important information, and a digital open house in this age of an increasingly web-savvy population means more flexibility for our customers to participate.”
The digital open house on December 12, 2019 will be a livestreamed in-depth presentation of the redesign to provide information to Bronx residents who are unable to attend a community board meeting or site event in person. The presentation, which will be hosted by President Byford and the Bronx Bus Network Redesign team, will be a detailed version of the presentations that are available on the Bronx Bus Network Redesign website. The team will answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the proposed final plan, and the public can submit questions via here or on Twitter using the hashtag #bronxbusredesign.
The proposed final plan updates the Bronx’s bus routes, which were largely unchanged since they were converted from trolley lines nearly a century ago or absorbed from private bus lines consolidated into the MTA decades ago. It took into consideration the routes’ performance, ridership and reliability on key corridors, and how individual routes contribute to the larger network. The proposal establishes a new baseline of bus service in Bronx and a new foundation upon which the MTA can build service as the borough continues to evolve.
The recommendations were developed in collaboration with NYCDOT following unprecedented levels of public outreach with communities and coordination with transit advocates, including open houses, workshops, community board meetings, in-person surveys, and community events. MTA NYC Transit is continuing this level of public outreach with the final plan through follow-up meetings with community boards in the areas affected by the Bronx Bus Network Redesign and staffed information tables at key bus and subway transfer points throughout Bronx. Additionally, the MTA will hold a public hearing in early 2020 as part of the implementation process, which requires a full MTA Board vote. Details of the public hearing will be released closer to the date.
The full MTA outreach calendar is available on the project website at here, and upcoming meetings are also listed below. By the end of this phase of public outreach, NYC Transit will have attended 30 public outreach events solely on the proposed final plan. Information on the times and locations of Bronx and Manhattan community board meetings is available here.
MTA personnel will be on site to answer questions and take feedback:
Thursday, December 05, 2019
Manhattan Community Board 9 Transportation Committee meeting
Friday, December 06, 2019, 03:30 – 06:30 p.m.
Fordham Road subway station
Monday, December 09, 2019, 03:30 – 06:30 p.m.
3 Avenue – 149 Street subway station of 2 and 5 trains
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Bronx Community Board 6 meeting
Thursday, December 12, 2019, 06:30 – 08:00 p.m.
Virtual open house on Youtube.com/mtainfo
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Manhattan Community Board 9 meeting
Friday, December 13, 2019, 03:30 – 06:30 p.m.
125 Street subway station of 2 & 3 trains
Monday, December 16, 2019, 03:30 – 06:30 p.m.
Simpson Street subway station of 2 and 5 trains
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Bronx Community Board 3 meeting
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Bronx Community Board 2 meeting
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Bronx Community Board 8 Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting
Under the Fast Forward plan to improve bus service, NYC Transit is redesigning the bus networks in every borough of New York City, starting with the Staten Island Express Bus Redesign that was implemented in August 2018 that has resulted in faster bus speeds, better reliability, and hundreds more trips during each week. Bronx is the first borough to undergo a redesign of both the local and express routes at the same time. The MTA used customer feedback, traffic data and analyses, on-the-ground information from employees, and collaboration with NYCDOT and NYPD to find ways to improve bus travel times, increasing reliability and frequency for the largest number of customers. Redesigns of the Queens and Brooklyn local and express bus networks are also underway.
Proposed final plan highlights
The bus network redesign’s goals included creating a high-frequency network along major corridors, providing more intermodal connections to ease accessibility between bus and subway service, and improving crosstown connections in Bronx, which is already well served by many subway lines running north-south. Some of the proposals include:
- Two new local routes, the Bx25 and M125, provide new connections and service to previously underserved neighborhoods. A new Manhattan-Bronx express route, BxM5, provides peak-hour premium service between northern Bronx and midtown Manhattan.
- The proposal realigns routes to open up new access points for customers, including extensions of three routes to more neighborhoods, a new Bx40/42 connection to 25 subway service at E. 180 Street, a new route connecting northern Co-Op City to Bedford Park, and seven route simplifications to bring customers to major corridors. Four routes will provide service to accessible subway stations.
- Frequency will significantly increase on nine major corridors, which will be served by 10 routes.
- Ridership-based adjustments to express bus service, a premium interborough service that uses 54-seat coach buses, to more accurately reflect current demand. Daily ridership on Bronx express bus service ranged in 2018 from 239 to 2,400 weekday customers.
- Bus stops would be spaced an average of 1,092 feet, resulting in a net reduction of 400 local/limited stops. Bronx stops are currently an average of 882 feet apart – just over three city blocks – compared to bus stops in transit systems around the world that range from 1,000 to 1,680 feet. The average time it takes for a bus to re-enter traffic from a stop ranges from 20 seconds to more than 1 minute during peak hours. In making these decisions on bus stop spacing, NYC Transit considered factors such as stop usage, ridership, geography and community impact. Many retained stops serve high ridership areas such as retirement communities, hospitals or schools for which a stop removal would create a significant burden. Others provide transfers to subway stations or connections to different bus routes, or access to hilly locations where walking is difficult, particularly during inclement weather.
- NYCDOT and NYC Transit identified major Bronx corridors for bus priority projects to accompany the network redesign based on criteria such as ridership demand, service reliability and speed, proposed new service levels, demographics and ease of implementation. NYCDOT will work with communities to refine details over the winter with the goal of implementing these projects in 2020. The projects will also stop improvements such as benches, real time information signs, and other passenger-focused improvements.
The digital open house will be recorded and archived on the MTA’s YouTube channel as well as posted on the project website for any members of the public who were unable to watch the livestream.
Additionally, NYC Transit is currently reviewing public feedback on express bus service proposals and will provide an update before the MTA holds a public hearing on the proposed final plan in early 2020. After the public hearing, the MTA Board must vote before any changes are implemented in mid-2020.