Gothamist NYC'S Busiest Bus Is Now Running "Select" by Emma Whitford

NYC'S Busiest Bus Is Now Running "Select"
Emma Whitford

Today marks the launch of Select Bus Service (SBS) on the M86 bus line, which cuts through Central Park between Broadway and New York Avenue on 86th Street. With 24,000 daily passengers, it's the city's busiest bus route per mile, according to the Department of Transportation.

“Waiting in block-long lines for crosstown buses in Yorkville and spending countless minutes boarding will hopefully become just another bad memory," said Councilmember Ben Kallos in a statement.

According to a DOT press release, M86 Select Bus riders must pre-purchase their fares from sidewalk machines located at each stop, and can now gauge their commutes on countdown clocks. And while the new, double-long buses will not have designated lanes along the route, the DOT is predicting that three-door access and pre-paid fares will speed up boarding time significantly, cutting travel times by 20 percent.

However, some skeptics counter that the upgrades could be more effective—boarding-time improvements aside, this new select route makes all of the same stops as the old non-select M86. It is not to be confused with an express bus route.

Streetsblog reports that the M86 has been under consideration for an SBS upgrade since 2009. The project cost $5 million total, in a combination of City, State and Federal funds.

Last April, de Blasio pledged to launch thirteen new SBS routes by 2017. The M86 is the city's eighth to date.