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We’re Speeding Up Staten Island
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The Staten Island Express Bus Redesign Project

Staten Island deserves the best express bus network possible. That’s why we’re working to create a completely reimagined system – with more logical routes, more predictable schedules and more reliable service for all our riders.

 

How We Got Here

Staten Islanders depend on express bus service. But right now, it isn’t working nearly as well as it might.

A big reason why is that much of the existing bus network was built piece by piece over the course of several decades, mostly between the 1960s and 1980s. As traffic congestion (particularly in Manhattan) has progressively worsened in the years since then, express bus performance has suffered, with riders frequently complaining of poor reliability and long travel times. 
 
That’s why we undertook a comprehensive review of how the existing network could be improved to create a far more efficient system for our riders who commute from Staten Island to Manhattan. And for the first time, technological investments made by the MTA allowed us to more clearly evaluate how people are - using the buses today, and to predict how a reimagined system could provide better service for everyone in the near future.
 
Here's what we've done so far:
  • Met with elected officials, community boards, civic associations and transit advocacy groups
  • Surveyed over 2,000 riders on buses and at bus stops as part of our initial bus study outreach
  • Reviewed hundreds of comments received through our online feedback form
  • Hosted public workshops in each of the three Staten Island community districts
  • Partnered with NYU Rudin Center for Transportation and TransitCenter on a Bus Hackathon
  • Analyzed travel patterns using Bus Time GPS data and MetroCard swipe data
  • Evaluated performance and running times using Bus Time GPS data
  • Published a report recommending the express bus redesign to improve travel times and reliability
  • Promoted the redesign online, in the press, at community events and through advertising
  • Surveyed over 1,000 express bus riders to evaluate their reactions to the redesign proposal:

The result? We now know that redesigning the entire Staten Island express bus network will improve frequency, reliability and travel times. This will improve the travel experience and shorten commute times for nearly all riders – in some cases by as much as 40 minutes a day!

 

What Changes We're Proposing

As part of the Staten Island Bus Study, after an in-depth analysis of data and rider feedback, four major concepts were identified to create a faster and more reliable express bus network:

  1. Frequency Through Simplicity
    The network will be simplified in Manhattan, resulting in fewer routes on some Staten Island streets but with significantly more frequent service. Routing in Manhattan will be optimized for speed and access to popular destinations.

    How does this help riders?
    On many routes, riders will have a significantly shorter wait for the next bus. Simplified service will be more reliable with a better chance of getting a seat. Many riders will have more convenient access to their destination.
  2. Streamlined Manhattan Routing
    As more than 90% of riders go to Downtown or Midtown Manhattan, routes will be divided to go to either Downtown or Midtown – rather than attempting to do both – cutting the average route mileage used on congested Manhattan streets in half.

    Manhattan Routes We Considered



    Manhattan Routes We Recommend



    How does this help riders?
    Most riders will have a faster and more reliable ride to their destination, making better use of highways and avoiding gridlocked Manhattan streets. Though some riders will need to transfer to the subway, their overall trip will still be faster and more reliable. Most riders will continue to have a one-seat ride.
  3. Less Frequent Stopping
    Despite their name, express buses stop very frequently. The average express bus makes 27 stops before even leaving Staten Island. The redesign would increase the distance between stops from approximately every five blocks to every eight blocks.



    How does this help riders?
    Service will be faster and more reliable. Most riders will use the same stop that they do today. Some riders will need to walk a few additional blocks to reach a stop, but will have an improved overall trip.
  4. Directness and Speed
    Some express buses use indirect routing with excessive turns to reach their destination. Where possible, these routes will be streamlined to be more direct and to make better use of highways.

    How does this help riders?
    A more logical network with shorter and more direct routes means many riders will see the overall speed and reliability of their trips improved.

The MTA released many of these details, including potential bus stop locations on Staten Island and routing in Manhattan, at Open House events on Staten Island in October 2017. Comments and suggestions are encouraged as the project continues to be refined.

 

What This Means For You

Once the comprehensive redesign of the Staten Island express bus network is in place, here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Approximately 99.5% of existing riders would have average travel times similar to or faster than their trips today
  • The average end-to-end route running time would be reduced by an estimated 20 minutes
  • Because reducing route length generally improves performance, all riders would experience the benefits of a more reliable system
  • Approximately 86% of riders who currently have a one-seat ride to their destination would continue to have a one-seat ride – the remaining 14% would most likely make a free transfer to the subway in Manhattan
  • Many routes could be more easily rerouted on the fly in response to road incidents and delays
  • The entire express bus network would be easier to understand

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard
  1. Email us your questions or comments:
  2. Follow us on social media:

 

FAQs

Are you cutting service?
No. There will be the same number of buses on the road after this plan is implemented.

What happens if I work between Lower Manhattan and Midtown?
The 4% of Staten Island express bus riders who travel to destinations between Lower Manhattan and Midtown can transfer for free to the MTA's extensive subway or local bus network to reach their final destinations. Even with the transfer, many of these riders will still see a reduction in overall travel time.

What stops are you eliminating? Will my stop be eliminated?
Eliminated stops will be selected based on ridership, and we're currently soliciting feedback from the community as we fine-tune our plans. Most riders will continue to use the same bus stop they use today. For riders at removed stops, we expect that the maximum added walk time to a new stop will be approximately five minutes.

Why can't you just add more buses?
Our goal is to create a network with more reliable service and dramatically shorter commute times, which reflects our current ridership and where they want to go. By proposing a higher frequency of buses on a smaller number of routes, we are addressing the true problem of overly congested streets, rather than just adding more slow-moving buses to the routes.

When will these changes happen? When will I be able to see my new route?
With the completion of this study, we've moved on to the next phase of the project – collecting feedback to fine-tune our plans. To receive more information as it becomes available, sign up for email updates.

How can I provide feedback?
We're eager to hear your thoughts on this preliminary proposal. You can share them with us by sending us an email, or by attending an upcoming public meeting.