New SBS routes, digital display screens for buses on the way, MTA says

The MTA is gearing up for a round of bus improvements, including new Select Bus Service routes and on-board digital display screens.

The B46, Q70 and M23 are all on tap to receive SBS treatment, with limited stops and off-board fare payment planned for each route. The Department of Transportation will provide designated bus lanes for both the B46, carrying 46,000 passengers a day, and the M23, with an average of 13,000 weekday riders.

The two routes are slated for SBS conversion in July and the fall of 2016, respectively.

“It’s very exciting,” said DOT Comissioner Polly Trottenberg. “[The B46] is the third busiest bus route in the whole city and I think it’s going to be an amazing addition to our SBS routes.”

The Q70, as reported last week, will be rebranded at the “LaGuardia Link,” with brand new buses for SBS service beginning in September.

On Monday, the MTA’s Transit and Bus Committee approved a $1.6 million pilot program that will bring on-board digital display screens to 131 buses beginning this year. Screens with stop and service information will be installed on 48 M15 buses, with 48 on the B46 and 35 on the S79.

Also in regards to buses at the meeting, Trottenberg echoed the calls of advocates, including new MTA board member Veronica Vanterpool, about the importance of digital receipts in the MTA’s next generation of fare payment technology. Trottenberg and Vanterpool believe paperless bus boarding will be hugely important in speeding up trips.

“In a lot of routes around the city, one of the things that takes the most time is people lining up to swipe their MetroCards,” Trottenberg said. “In Manhattan’s east-west crosstown routes, that typically makes up about 50 percent of dwell time. If you can have people boarding through two doors and not having to swipe MetroCards — just doing a quick tap — that will do a whole lot to make buses travel at faster speeds.”