“Buses are a critical link in our public transportation system, but too often they are painfully slow,” said de Blasio. “I hope all New Yorkers get the message that we have to keep bus lanes clear to get people moving and to work on time.”
The seven new NYPD tow teams will operate in all five boroughs. The city has set an ambitious goal to increase bus speeds by 25 percent by 2020 through increased enforcement and street redesign.
“As Mayor de Blasio mentioned, the NYPD now has a dedicated team of tow trucks and enforcement agents that patrol bus lanes and bus routes across this city with the goal of increasing bus speeds,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.
During his State of the City Address, the mayor noted that on average buses only move at 7.4 mph, and in busy commercial districts the average speed is less than 4 mph.
The MTA and state may control the buses, de Blasio noted, but the city has the tools to increase average bus speeds by redesigning streets, installing new bus lanes, and removing more vehicles blocking bus lanes.
“It really is an incredibly ambitious goal,” said Department of Transportion Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank our partners at NYPD for starting their aggressive work on a critical routes around the City as they make sure that bus riders can make it where they need to go.”
In addition to the efforts to increase NYPD enforcement as part of “Better Buses for All,” the mayor also announced the city would press the MTA to restart the SBS program and to add 20 SBS routes citywide, doubling the current number of routes
For its part, the city will install bus lanes at an average of 10 to 15 miles per year, up from current pace of seven miles per year, and upgrade five miles of existing bus lanes per year with extended hours and restricted turning.
The city will also add traffic-signal priority at 300 intersections per year, doubling the number of intersections where buses get green lights and advocate for expanded camera enforcement
“I appreciate the shared commitment of DOT and NYPD to improve bus lane enforcement,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “It will go a long way toward a much-needed bus turnaround in our city, as will greater implementation of street redesigns and improved collaboration with MTA New York City Transit.”