Select Bus Service begins on the #12 route

Lena Pokatoba (above) takes her MetroCard and purchases a SBS bus ticket at the Eastchester Road stop on Pelham Parkway. SBS replaces the Bx 12 Limited, and is distinguished by blue flashing lights on its front. - Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Bronx straphangers crossing through the center of the borough are now benefiting from faster bus transit, thanks to an innovative new system called Select Bus Service. 

Bus customers along the Bx12 route were the first to benefit from this new type of service designed to be faster, more reliable and efficient than current bus operations.

The introduction of Select Bus Service to the Bx12 on Monday, June 30, is the culmination of a three-year collaborative effort among NYC Transit, Department of Transportation, and the New York State Department of Transportation. 

Bx12 SBS replaces limited-stop service along the Bx12 route between 207th Street, Broadway in Manhattan, and the Bay Plaza Mall in the Bronx, with special service to Orchard Beach in the summer.

“We expect that our Select Bus Service customers will enjoy a much faster and more attractive ride,” said Elliot G. Sander, executive director and CEO of the MTA.  “We have learned from our peers around the world that bus rapid transit truly revolutionizes surface transit.  This is a great example of the ways that the MTA is improving customer service within tight budget constraints.”

The Select Bus Service has pre-paid fare centers where customers purchase a ticket before boarding the bus. By utilizing this method, passengers can enter from either the front or the back doors of the bus, cutting down on time the bus much spend at each spot, and making service faster.

“People are out there helping the riders at all SBS stops,” said MTA-NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton. “We understand it is a change for them, so we are out there to show them how to use the machines and explain the service for them.”

MTA-NYC Transit enforcement personnel also joined those helping to explain the new system to passengers, issuing warning for those who boarded the bus, but did not pay at a pre-paid kiosk, for the first week.

Straphangers who try to cheat the system will be fined if they are found on the bus without a pre-paid ticket.

Many expressed thoughts that the system was in fact making the trip move quickly.

“It speeds things up a little,” said rider Shanee Williams. “We would normally have to wait until everyone paid, and normally that would result in a long wait.  Every few seconds help.”

Despite the usual concerns about lost tickets in the rush to get the new system up to speed, there were plenty of advocates for the change.

“I think that SBS cut a lot of time off of my traveling, saving time in boarding and exiting the bus,” said customer Hugh Pinkett. “It just seems faster to me.”

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