After months of planning and outreach, the MTA rolled out a new look for Bronx’ bus network on Tuesday.
MTA Transit president Andy Byford announced the latest and greatest tweaks to the plan outside of the Bronx County Building where Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. gave the MTA chief unyielding support on the plan — which is anticipated to commence in upcoming months.
Also speaking at the event were State Senator Jamaal Bailey, assemblymembers Michael Benedetto, Nathalia Fernandez and LaToya Joyner, Councilman Mark Gjonaj and NYC Department of Transportation commissioner Nivardo Lopez.
“The Bronx bus redesign gives us the opportunity to build a foundation for a new high-frequency network to serve the largest number of riders at the times when they need bus service the most,” Byford said Tuesday morning.
So what exactly can the 675,000 Bronx riders expect from the new MTA bus layout? More express service to Manhattan, for starters.
The redesign will be bringing in a new express bus, the BxM5 which will run from the north end of the borough to Midtown. That’s in addition to the Bx25 and M125 buses being shifted to two new, local routes.
“Quite frankly we were skeptical about the redesign, and did not know what to expect with the redesign at first,” Diaz said.
The plan will also be removing 400 local stops, Byford explained. The new network includes additional bus transfer opportunities designed to deliver higher frequency of bus service and reduced wait times throughout the borough.
There are also greater connections between subways and buses, such as a new route for the Bx40 and Bx42 buses which includes a stop at the 180th Street station on the #2 and #5 IRT subway lines. Seven other bus routes were also simplified for greater efficiency and bring customers to major corridors.
Improving access to Co-op City was critical to the Bronx bus network redesign, Byford noted.
When the Co-op City community objected to the MTA’s draft bus proposal, he attended their rally to learn firsthand what the residents wanted. As a result of that meeting most bus lines serving the neighborhood were left intact to provide residents as many travel options as possible.
Another point that the bus redesign aims to address is improved cross-borough service in the Bronx. Because subway and Metro North lines only run from north to south in that borough, commuting from between the east and west ends of the Bronx relies heavily on the MTA’s buses through larger thoroughfares such as Pelham Parkway and East Tremont Avenue.
Those roads and about eight more in the Bronx are going to be studied by the DOT to either have bus lanes installed or to become ‘priority’ areas, according to DOT.
The MTA also said that adjustments could be made to the finalized plan as it progresses forward.