NYC Announces Five Bus Rapid Transit Routes

When Michael Bloomberg first ran for mayor of New York City in 2001, he promised to bring an express bus system to Manhattan’s east side. Five years later, fans of bus rapid transit (BRT) are poised to rejoice. The City’s Department of Transportation announced the development of five BRT routes as part of a pilot program to usher in a new era of bus travel. Each of the City’s five boroughs will have a system in place by 2008, with two scheduled for operation in the fall of 2007. Unlike current routes, the BRT system will have stops spaced between half a mile and a mile apart. Furthermore, buses will be equipped with devices to transmit their location to a computer system that controls traffic lights, thereby allowing lights to stay green for an extra few seconds to allow buses to pass. Cameras will also be mounted on the buses to photograph any vehicle blocking the BRT lane, so traffic tickets could be mailed to the violator. Finally, some of the bus stations will be equipped with turnstiles to allow passengers to pay prior to boarding. Let’s hope the BRT system will utilize the hybrid electric buses that have become prevalent on many of the City’s standard routes.

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