Make room: crosstown buses to get more crowded

Two crosstown buses — notoriously slow routes where walking is sometimes faster — will get more crowded this spring.

The MTA wants to pack more people into buses under routine schedule alterations starting in April that increase time between buses.

A midday M72 bus will be at 81% capacity, from 68%, and three-quarters full in the evening, up from 69%. The schedule will see 12 minutes in the midday between buses, instead of every 10 minutes, and a 15-minute wait from 12 minutes in the evening.

M96 buses will be 94% full during the midday, up from 81% now, with a 30-second increase between buses to six minutes.

Elected officials on the East and West Side, who are sending a letter to the MTA brass about the changes, want a boost in service, not a reduction, at a time when buses bunch up and plod through streets.

“As people are complaining about bus service and are not using it as much because of how poor the service is, that’s the least time you want to make it less and less desirable to get on,” said Councilman Ben Kallos, who signed the letter with six other Manhattan lawmakers including U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney.

The MTA, meanwhile, is trimming wait times during the evening rush hour along the M72 and M31 on 57th Street.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the new schedule better meets ridership needs; 41 of 66 changes across the system in April will increase frequency on routes, according to the agency.