DOT and MTA NYC Transit Launch New M79 Select Bus Service Along Manhattan’s 79th Street

05/21/2017

M79 Select Bus Service will provide over 14,000 daily bus riders on Upper East Side and Upper West Side with faster, more reliable service, allowing better connection to multiple subway lines

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) NYC Transit and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) together today began service on a new Select Bus Service (SBS) route along 79th Street in Manhattan. This busy 2-mile crosstown corridor links Manhattan’s Upper East Side to the Upper West Side and serves over 14,000 riders daily.   The M79 is the 13th Select Bus Service route Citywide and the 7th in Manhattan.  Using SBS’s signature combination of dedicated bus lanes, curbside fare collection, all-door boarding and transit-signal priority, the new line is expected to both reduce travel times and increase reliability.

"Whether they are headed to Zabar's, the Metropolitan Museum or beyond, we expect that regular M79 riders will be very happy with the changes coming to their route this weekend,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “As riders on the East and West Sides have already learned with the M86 SBS a few blocks north, Select Bus Service is simply a faster and more reliable way to get across town.  We are proud to once again partner with the MTA on another great Select Bus Service route on the M79  – and as with other SBS routes, we expect daily ridership to rise."

"The arrival of Select Bus Service on 79th Street will improve every aspect of crosstown travel for customers , who will be able to get to work, school and the museums quicker and more easily, with this new service,” said MTA New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick.

Begun in 2008, Select Bus Service has been shown to increase reliability of buses and decrease travel times by as much as 30%.  Last month, DOT released its progress report on the M86 SBS route, which has been in service nearly two years.  The report illustrated the success of the new route, noting a 96% customer satisfaction rating.  The report also noted that since the M86 SBS was established in July of 2015, ridership on the M86 route has grown by 7% and travel times have decreased by as much as 11%.

 “I am thrilled to welcome another Select Bus Service route to my district,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “As the existing SBS lines have already proven, this is a much faster way to get around the city, particularly when moving across town. Riders along this route will see an immediate benefit, and I look forward to the increased reliability and convenience that it will bring to my constituents.”

"Expansion of select bus service is an improvement in quality of life," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.  "Getting across town on 79th Street will now be easier and faster with the opening of M79 Select Service."

"Expanding Select Bus Service is a relatively inexpensive and green solution to the increasing infrastructure needs of our city,” said State Senator Marisol Alcantara.  “By setting up dedicated bus lanes and all-door boarding, the ridership and efficiency of the system will greatly improve. I hope that the MTA and the DOT will continue to expand bus service so that our city's transit grid can be extended to transit-poor areas, and look forward to working with them to expand access to high-quality public transportation."

 “I am very pleased to welcome the M79 SBS to the Upper East Side. So many of my constituents, especially seniors, rely on bus service every day, and they are keenly aware of the need for faster, more reliable service,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “SBS has a proven track record of success in other parts of the city, and I’m confident it will improve the experience for riders along 79th Street. Thank you to Commissioner Trottenberg, the DOT, and the MTA for working to expand this important service.”

"The new Select Bus Service (SBS) route along 79th street will provide over 15,000 daily bus riders a more reliable and efficient way to get around,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. “The Select Bus Service will decrease travel times on the Upper West Side and connect riders to 16 additional bus lines and 3 subway lines. Many thanks to NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg for continuing to improve and expand transit options for all New Yorkers."

"Recent Select Bus Service expansion on the Upper East Side has proven to be beneficial for the community, decreasing wait times and making rides faster,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “The M79 will be a great addition to the transportation garden that the Upper East Side has become. Thank you to Commissioner Trottenberg and the Department of Transportation for their commitment to improving service throughout New York City."

"I am thrilled at the DOT and MTA's announcement that Select Bus Service is beginning along 79th Street, providing more efficient travel between the Upper West and Upper East sides,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “Thousands of riders will benefit every day from SBS dedicated bus lanes, curbside fare collection, and all-door boarding along 79th Street. This is long overdue for our community -- every effort needs to be made to reduce travel times and increase reliability for bus riders.”

The M79 Select Bus Service will connect sixteen different bus routes including the M15 SBS and 4 main subway lines. The M79  SBS will replace the local service giving riders a more seamless commute to work, school, and two of the city’s major cultural institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. 

Over the last year, NYC Transit and NYC DOT engaged communities along the route and received insightful feedback on elements of SBS such as off-board fare collection, bus lane segments and bus-stop placement.  NYC DOT worked with local community boards on design elements: DOT addressed bus-only lanes in areas with excessive traffic congestion and added turn bays at key intersections along the route to improve traffic flow.

The M79 SBS route along 79th Street from East End Avenue to Riverside Drive will be unchanged from the local route, providing subway transfers to 79 St, 81 St and 77 St stations. One eastbound stop on 81 Street at Amsterdam Avenue will be eliminated due to low ridership and proximity to nearby stops with higher ridership. Service frequencies will also remain unchanged, although schedules may be adjusted to accommodate ridership changes.

Implementation of the latest SBS route will cost approximately $1.7 million annually. These costs have been included in the approved MTA operating budget.

###