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NY: Mayor Adams Announces Plans to ‘Immediately’ Improve City’s Transit System

Published: June 20, 2022
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: A person walks next to an MTA bus in Murray Hill as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 26, 2020 in New York City. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

On June 16, New York City Mayor Eric Adams in conjunction with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced via a press release a new collaborative effort to improve transit service for New Yorkers promising to place an emphasis on advancing “critical projects” while making buses faster and more accessible

The initiative is a result of the first Transit Improvement Summit, a quarterly effort by the MTA which aims to “foster collaboration and continue delivering quality public transit for New Yorkers and visitors.”

“This partnership is the definition of ‘Get Stuff Done,” Adams said adding that, “Together with the MTA, we are delivering the efficient, reliable bus network and transit system all New Yorkers and visitors to our great city deserve. And we will work closely with communities every step of the way to take these much-needed, bold steps together.”

Janno Lieber, MTA Chair and CEO, said New Yorkers “deserve a world-class transit system,” and that the collaborative effort is “a new era” for the MTA which will speed up buses for New Yorkers and will “make the subways safer and more reliable, and prioritize equity and accessibility in mass transit.”

According to city and MTA leadership, the new collaboration will prioritize enhancements for the MTA’s bus network, particularly for those “who live or work outside of Manhattan.”

It was promised that the MTA and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will add an additional 150 miles of new and enhanced bus lanes and busways over the next four years, beginning with 20 miles on select corridors which the City says services approximately 327,000 passengers daily.

“Additionally, NYCDOT will make permanent the Main Street busway in Queens, which launched as a pilot in January 2021. The busway has increased bus speeds by up to 50 percent and supports 155,000 riders per day,” the press release reads. 

Faster buses

The NYCDOT announced it will be expanding automated enforcement and transit signal priority at traffic signals which is believed to be key in making bus service in the five boroughs faster. 

In addition, the NYCDOT will be installing 50 fixed bus lane cameras on new and existing bus lanes, doubling its previous commitment.

The MTA is promising to expand the on-bus Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) program from the current 123 buses to another 300 buses by the end of 2022, covering an additional nine routes across all five boroughs. 

Further to this, NYCDOT intends to add transit signal priority at 750 more intersections next year in an effort to speed up bus service. 

The move is intended to make the existing ABLE program permanent and expand bus and stationary camera enforcement of city traffic rules, including double parking and illegal parking at bus stops. 

The transit authority and the NYCDOT are also going to prioritize bicycle, micromobility, and pedestrian access to transit with “improvements to bike infrastructure [and] additional bike parking.”

$200 million commitment

The city has earmarked $200 million in funding to address quality-of-life issues on the city’s transit system. The funds are intended to address cleanliness and lighting issues and will also be used to expand subway countdown clocks, improve public announcement systems, and “integrate LCD signage at 71 subway stations most in need of upgrades.”

The City and the MTA also say that they are coordinating to combat fare and toll evasion, beginning with a crackdown on defaced and fraudulent temporary license plates, which the City says combined costs municipal coffers more than $100 million in lost revenue annually and are “correlated to other criminal behavior.”

The collaboration between the City and the MTA will include accessibility improvements and stormwater resiliency.

It will also include both entities working together on fare initiatives, including the city’s Fair Fares program, Freedom Ticket, and CityTicket for Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.  

New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations, Meera Joshi, said via the press release, “To the riding public, we are one city, and through our renewed collaboration with the MTA, we will, as one city, improve and expand transit service for millions of New Yorkers who depend on it every day,” adding that, “The Transit Improvement Summit will bring tangible changes that are vital to our city’s economic, social, and environmental health.”

Richard Davey, New York City’s Transit President said the collaboration is improving the customer experience for everyone who uses the city’s transit system, saying, “The commitment of Mayor Adams and his administration to this collaborative effort will make a difference, and I am excited to see the enhancements we discussed today improve the rider’s experience in the coming months.”