M23 Select Bus Service in Manhattan looks to improve speed, reliability

The city and the MTA launched M23 Select Bus Service on Monday in hopes to streamline service for thousands of riders commuting to 23rd Street’s subway stops, parks and institutions.

The M23 has been one of the slowest city buses in recent years, according to the NYPIRG Straphanger’s Campaign, which tracks bus speeds and reliability. In 2015, the group clocked the M23 traveling at a grueling 3.7 miles per hour, tied for the second slowest service in New York City.

In fact, the M23 is not moving—either stuck in traffic or at a bus stop—51% of the time, according to MTA data.

To speed up a bus mired in crosstown traffic, two lesser used stops have been shaved off the route. Typical SBS features, like off-board fare collections, dedicated bus lanes and bus lane cameras, have been added. The agencies said these treatments help reduce travel times by 10% and 30%.

The city Department of Transportation also installed bollards along certain portions of the bus lane to better keep cars out. Real time information will be provided on newly installed wayfinding totems

“In 2013, we committed ourselves to expanding the number of communities that see the benefits of Select Bus Service,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “From Chelsea Piers to Turtle Bay, communities with limited subway options will now learn that SBS has a winning formula to transform bus commutes. SBS saves commuters precious time while also making streets – including the newly added 23rd Street route – much safer, suiting our Vision Zero goals.”

The M23 marks the 12th SBS route in the city and the fifth in Manhattan. It links about 13,000 riders a day to five subway stations, institutions like as the School of Visual Arts and parks, including the High Line and Madison Square.

“Select Bus Service is a proven winner for our bus customers reducing travel times and boosting bus ridership along these corridors in the process,” said MTA New York City Transit Senior Vice President and MTA Bus President Darryl Irick in a statement.