MTA rolls out new Bronx bus route to speed up your commute

MTA President Andy Byford joins Bronx Borough president Ruben Diaz, Jr. and other officials to announce the redesign on 10/22/19. (Alex Mitchell)

After months of planning and outreach, the MTA rolled out a new look for Bronx’s bus network on Tuesday.

MTA Transit President Andy Byford announced the latest and greatest tweaks to the plan outside of the Bronx County Building where Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. gave the MTA chief unyielding support on the plan — which is anticipated to commence in upcoming months.

“The Bronx bus redesign gives us the opportunity to build a foundation for a new high-frequency network to serve the largest number of riders at the times when they need bus service the most,” Byford said Tuesday morning.

So what exactly can the 675,000 Bronx riders expect from the new MTA bus layout? More express service to Manhattan, for starters.

The redesign will be bringing in a new express bus, the BxM5 which will run from the north end of the borough to Midtown. That’s in addition to the Bx25 and M125 buses being shifted to two new, local routes.

“Quite frankly we were skeptical about the redesign, and did not know what to expect with the redesign at first,” Diaz said.

The plan will also be removing 400 local stops, Byford explained. The new network includes additional bus transfer opportunities designed to deliver higher frequency of bus service and reduced wait times throughout the borough.

There are also greater connections between subways and buses, such as a new route for the Bx40 and Bx42 buses which includes a stop at the 180th Street station on the 2 and 5 subway lines. Seven other bus routes were also simplified for greater efficiency and bring customers to major corridors.

Improving access to Co-Op City — a neighborhood on the eastern edge of the Bronx that lacks subway service — was critical to the Bronx bus network redesign, Byford noted. The new plan includes a new route connecting the northern end of Co-Op City with Bedford Park, but other bus lines serving the neighborhood were left in tact to provide residents as many travel options as possible.

Other access points are seen in a new route connecting northern Co-op City to Bedford Park, and seven route simplifications that will bring customers to major corridors.

Another point that the bus redesign aims to address is improved cross-borough service in the Bronx.  Because subway and Metro North lines only run from north to south in that borough, commuting from between the east and west ends of the Bronx relies heavily on the MTA’s buses through larger thoroughfares such as Pelham Parkway and East Tremont Avenue.

Those roads and about eight more in the Bronx are going to be studied by the DOT to either have bus lanes installed or to become “priority” areas, according to Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. 

“The current bus service here in the Bronx is awful,” Diaz frankly said, noting that much of his borough’s bus design hasn’t been updated since trolleys were rolling through city streets.

The MTA also said that adjustments could be made to the finalized plan as it progresses forward.

Alex Mitchell