The first of the new MTA buses have rolled out in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
Each borough received three buses, complete with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports, as part of the 2,042-bus fleet coming to the MTA over the course of five years. The rollout began last year in Queens, where the buses’ new blue-and-yellow paint job stands out against older models.
“These new, state-of-the-art buses will improve the standard of service for countless commuters and will help ensure the continued viability and reliability of the MTA’s bus fleet for years to come,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Three to five buses will deploy in Manhattan and Brooklyn each week until the boroughs reach their initial quota: 86 for Brooklyn, 78 for Manhattan.
Though Cuomo has described the buses as “Ferrari-like,” planning experts believe modern amenities won’t be enough to resuscitate a bus network that has shed riders over the years thanks to slow, unreliable service. Annual bus ridership fell by 16% between 2002 and 2015, with decreases concentrated primarily in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“It’s not Wi-Fi that’s going to bring those riders back,” said Jon Orcutt, spokesman at TransitCenter and former policy director at the city’s Department of Transportation.
As one of several organizations spearheading what’s called the “Bus Turnaround Campaign,” Orcutt stressed the need for the MTA to do a better job working with the city to improve bus service. The next campaign event will be on Thursday, where advocates will release “district-by-district” reports on bus service quality.
The MTA “has got to roll up their sleeves and really work with the city to build more bus lanes and improve the customer experience by making it much easier and quicker to board,” Orcutt said.