New York's Bus System Redesign—Delayed by the Pandemic—Moves Forward Again

A plan to redesign the bus system in New York City for faster, more frequent service is off the shelf and moving forward again after being paused at the beginning fo the pandemic.

2 minute read

September 21, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

New York Bus

Donald Bowers Photography / Shutterstock

"It will be five years longer than expected by the time MTA has redesigned all of its ancient bus networks borough-by-borough," reports Kevin Duggan.

"The plan to modernize the bus networks was supposed to wrap 'within three years' of its launch in 2018 — in other words by 2021 — under then-NYCT chief and 'train daddy' Andy Byford," explains Duggan. "But MTA put the plans put on hold during the pandemic, with only a revamp of Staten Island’s Express Bus network in place and the other boroughs at different stages of their overhauls."

The bus system redesign isn't the only major transportation change running slowly during the planning phase—the city's proposed congestion pricing scheme is also behind schedule and facing further delays.

As reported by Duggan in August, acting MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber announced that the agency would relaunch the redesign system first in the Bronx. "The borough already had a final redesign plan before the pandemic outbreak," according to Duggan in the more recent article.

"The Queens redesign had a draft proposal, and Brooklyn was at a more preliminary stage, with just a report on that borough bus network’s current conditions, and 'internal work' continues for those two boroughs for now, according to MTA."

The city of Dallas is the most recent major city to approve a major redesign of its bus system, with implementation scheduled in early 2022. Los Angeles has also been rolling out a redesigned bus system, with some hiccups, throughout the year.

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