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Select Bus Service Coming to 125 Street

M 60 bus
Photo: Charles Seaton/MTA New York City Transit

M60 Select Bus Service (SBS) will launch in April 2014, speeding the commutes of more than 30,000 bus passengers who travel on 125th Street routes daily. Using dedicated bus lanes, consolidated stops and allowing passengers to pay before boarding the bus, the streamlined service will improve one of the borough’s most-used local bus routes, reducing congestion and providing faster, more reliable connections throughout Harlem and with LaGuardia Airport.

There are also streetscape improvements planned for 125th Street, including the planned installation of the city’s first City Lights—62 attractive and energy-efficient new LED street lights from Morningside Avenue to Fifth Avenue. The project will also bring the City’s new pedestrian wayfinding system to 125th Street, with maps at all 12 SBS stations, and equipped with real-time bus arrival information and new parking spaces will be established along parts of 124th and 126th streets.  The MTA and NYC DOT will continue to advise the community and inform them of details as the project moves forward.

“The 125th Street corridor is a vital thoroughfare for Harlem residents and businesses alike,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. “I'm glad we will be able to improve service for our customers while still maintaining commercial loading zones for businesses in the area.  Select Bus Service will speed up bus service by as much as 20 percent on the M60 where half of the route’s  boardings and alightings happen right on 125th Street.”

The new M60 SBS will be the city’s seventh SBS line and is expected to reduce bus travel times by about 20 percent— cutting crosstown trips by five minutes, and helping increase ridership. SBS routes across the city already serve more than 100,000 daily riders.

The M60 SBS will replace the M60 local, and the number of stops on 125th Street will be reduced from 11 to six, maintaining connections to Metro North and all subway lines at St. Nicholas Avenue/Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Lenox Avenue, Madison Avenue/Park Avenue, and Lexington Avenue, as well as M15 Select Bus Service at Second Avenue.  In order to provide faster bus service on 125th Street and balancing the needs of other motorists on the corridor, offset, dedicated bus lanes for buses will be installed in both directions between Lenox Avenue and Second Avenue, at the approach to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. These bus lanes, which will be available to right-turning vehicles at intersections, are expected to reduce congestion for all vehicles on the corridor by preventing double parking and reducing the need for frequent lane changes—one of the biggest contributors to delay. To further reduce double parking, commercial loading zones during the morning rush hour will be added at select locations, allowing delivery trucks access to the curb, and the existing alternate-side parking regulations east of Fifth Avenue will be converted to metered parking, increasing parking turnover. Additionally, new left-turn restrictions at Fifth Avenue and Lexington Avenue will improve safety for pedestrians by eliminating potential conflicts and further reducing congestion caused by vehicles blocking through traffic.

All 11 existing bus stops will continue to be served by the others routes on the corridor: the Bx15, M100 and M101, and these local routes will also use the dedicated bus lanes and will see quicker travel times through the improved lane configuration. At these six M60 SBS stops, riders will also use off-board fare machines to pay for their ride before boarding, and then using any door to board the bus, eliminating the need to swipe cards upon boarding, and reducing the amount of time the bus spends at each station. New bus shelters will be installed at 12 SBS stations, and each will be lengthened to allow buses to more easily reach the curb.