They’ll be blue instead of red, but just like London, NYC will soon have double-decker buses cruising down its streets. As part of New York City Transit head Andy Byford’s larger bus-improvement plan, the MTA will start testing its first two-story bus on Staten Island today, and if all goes well, they’ll roll out on express routes in Manhattan soon. And to go along with the new design is a mobile app that provides seat availability information on express buses.
In a press release, Byford said, “We’ve listened to our riders’ concerns and are working tirelessly to create a world-class bus system that New Yorkers deserve. We’re targeting challenges like traffic congestion and enforcement, undertaking bold initiatives like redesigning the entire route network, and pursuing advancements such as the latest computer-aided management, double-decker and electric buses, all-door boarding, and improved customer service with more real-time data. Our customers will start to see changes this year and we will never stop improving this critical component of New York City’s transportation landscape.”
At the beginning of the year, the city’s first fleet of electric buses hit the road. The three-year pilot is testing 10 zero-emission vehicles, and assuming it’s successful, they’ll purchase another 60. And last month, the MTA released its new bus performance dashboard, a method of compiling and viewing data such as average bus speeds, wait times, on-time trips, etc.
Today’s comprehensive plan adds to this list of upgrades with:
- Increased bus speeds
- More off-peak trips
- Additional bus lanes
- A holistic review and redesign of the entire city’s bus route network
- Speeding up boarding by using all doors and the upcoming electronic tap-to-pay readers
- Adding more bus shelters equipped with real-time bus arrival info displays
The double-decker buses are currently being tested on an express route linking Staten Island to Manhattan.
When Byford took office in January, he made improved bus service one of this top priorities. As 6sqft previously reported, New York City’s bus system runs at the slowest pace in the nation, traveling at just 7.4 miles per hour, which has caused it to lose 100 million passengers since 2008.