Webster Avenue’s Bx41 is now the second Bronx route to switch to Select Bus Service.
One of the Metropolitian Transportation Authority’s most important south-north bus arteries, running from East 149th Street to East Gun Hill Road, the new SBS express buses began service on Sunday, June 30.
SBS uses on-street fare collection machines that let passengers pay before they board.
There is a dedicated bus lane for Bx41 traffic on Webster Avenue to help ease traffic congestion.
SBS is expected to speed travel times by about 20 percent, cutting about eight minutes off a 45-minute ride between East 149th Street and East Gun Hill Road.
Mayor Bloomberg, MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast, city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and elected officials touted the new SBS line, which joins the Bx12 on Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway. There was, also attended by Councilman Joel Rivera and local officials.
“With the addition of Select Bus Service, transportation in the Bronx becomes faster and more reliable than ever,” said Bloomberg said at a press conference Monday, July 1. “This new service will not only make travel easier and faster in the Bronx – it’s also central to our larger efforts to bring new life and economic strength to Webster Avenue.”
The addition of the line marks only the fifth SBS line in the City. There are great logistical challenges of moving traffic and buses on Webster Avenue, according to the DOT.
“Lined with commercial and residential neighborhoods and flanked by busy hubs, Webster Avenue makes incredible transit demands, but the supply hasn’t always kept pace,” said Sadik-Khan. “SBS will bring a surface subway to a corridor where an elevated train once ran, running in dedicated lanes, making fewer stops and moving 20,000 commuters faster every day.”
Installing the bus lanes and payment kiosks will cost about $10 million, mostly coming from federal transportation grants.
That includes making street improvements, installing pedestrian medians and islands, re-timing traffic signals and painting the bus lanes.
The SBS line is a permanent program that will hopefully work out for the best for both residents and merchants, said Ivine Galarza, district manager of Community Board 6.
She said the board arranged a meeting between concerned merchants along Webster Avenue and the commissioner’s office to discuss the plan, in addition to various discussions at board meetings, with some concern the plan might interrupt deliveries.
CB 6 is just one of several boards affected, but has what is perhaps the longest stretch of bus line running from roughly East 155th Street to Fordham Road, she said.
A day into the service, the feedback was good, she said.
“I guess weighing the good with the bad – the positive against the negative – I think we’ll be ok,” she said.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393