Ask the MTA | Bus stop spacing, return of retired subway lines

Mask Force
Buses stopping in Times Square last year.
Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

amNewYork Metro, in conjunction with the MTA, are proud to bring back “Ask the MTA,” a weekly column where MTA officials answer your questions about transit service in New York City. If you have a question for the MTA about subways, buses, commuter rails and more, email askthemta[@]amny.com.

Q: Why are bus stops bunched so close together? It seems like bus speeds could significantly increase if buses stopped every 4-5 blocks, not 2. This could be implemented quickly. — Brennan Lowery

A: You are correct. Bus stops in New York City are located closer together than in many other cities, and we’re trying to change that through our borough-by-borough Bus Network Redesigns. The goal is to work closely with communities across the city to redraw the map and create straighter, less complicated routes that shorten commute times, increase bus speeds, and provide more frequency and choices for our customers. Increasing bus stop spacing is an important part of this work. Each stop removed saves riders an average of 20 seconds on their trip. 

Our proposal for Bronx service – which eliminates approximately 400 bus stops – was just approved last month and will be implemented this summer. We expect to release the Queens draft plan sometime this quarter, and the Brooklyn redesign remains in progress. To learn more about these projects, check out new.mta.info/system_modernization/bus_network

Q: Are you planning on expanding subway lines anytime soon? It’s been 11 years since we saw the V train running. Any chance that the V or another retired subway line may be restored? — Name withheld

A: When it comes to retired lines, not at this moment. But we’re always looking at new ideas. Right now, we’re particularly excited about Governor Hochul’s Interborough Express proposal, which is moving into the environmental review phase. The project smartly repurposes existing freight rail infrastructure to better connect communities in western Brooklyn and Queens not currently served by rail. 

We’ll be considering Interborough for inclusion in the 2025-2029 Capital Program, but further evaluation is required before anything is set in stone. Still, the environmental review is an exciting first step. We’ll keep you posted on what letter this new line might receive in the future.

The next Ask the MTA column is scheduled for Feb. 13. Send us your questions at [email protected].