MTA Press Releases

Press Release
July 23, 2018
MTA, DOT to Launch M14 SBS Ahead of L Train Tunnel Reconstruction Project
Select Bus Service on 14th Street to Serve Subway Riders Seeking Alternate Service

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) will launch the Select Bus Service on 14th Street in Manhattan on January 6, 2019, ahead of the planned April 2019 closure of the l train tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan for Superstorm Sandy-related repairs. The launch date is contingent upon the completion of street and vehicular traffic modifications planned across 14th Street by NYCDOT to support increased bus and pedestrian traffic.

“Launching Select Bus Service on 14th Street is a critical part of a multi-faceted service plan to keep thousands of customers moving safely and efficiently as they commute crosstown,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “By implementing the M14 SBS months before we start the l train tunnel repairs, we hope that customers will take the opportunity to try our buses and see how the 14th Street busway can factor into their commutes once we start work fixing the l train tunnel.”

“We had planned Select Bus Service for 14th Street long before the announcement of the l train’s disruption, but now with more than 50,000 additional daily riders expected to move above ground along 14th Street, the need for SBS here is even more urgent,” said NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Hundreds of thousands of SBS riders across New York City have already found that off-board fare collection, all-door boarding and dedicated bus lanes increase their buses’ speed and reliability.  With the M14 set to become the busiest bus route in the nation next year, with a bus per minute, we plan to work with MTA to combine those signature SBS innovations with other design changes along 14th Street to provide fast, reliable, and safe service.”

The M14 SBS will supplement existing M14A and M14D local bus service on 14th Street, making five stops in each direction between First and Tenth Avenues for transfers to the 123456aceflmnqrw subway lines. Just before the l train tunnel reconstruction project begins, the M14 SBS route will be extended east to the planned Stuyvesant Cove ferry terminal on the East River to accommodate ferry customers from Brooklyn. Once M14 SBS is implemented, combined with the existing 14th Street local bus service and daily high-occupancy vehicle restrictions on most of 14th Street from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., crosstown buses will be scheduled no more than two minutes apart during peak hours.

All but three existing local M14A and M14D stops will remain the same during this implementation of Select Bus Service; three stops near Union Square will be temporarily removed or combined to make room for enhanced pedestrian areas and increased flow. A westbound local stop at the far side of Union Square West will be temporarily removed, while two eastbound local stops at the far side of Fifth Avenue and at University Place will be combined into a single stop on the near side of University Place. These local routes serve approximately 30,000 customers each day.

The combined Select Bus and local bus services are expected to accommodate about 84,000 riders per day, including thousands of l customers from Brooklyn and crosstown riders within Manhattan. To provide adequate capacity and to keep buses moving, MTA NYC Transit and NYCDOT are collaborating on street designs to prioritize buses while allowing access to private vehicles and trucks. NYCDOT plans to implement bus priority lanes, step up traffic camera enforcement with the support of NYPD, and place operational restrictions on private vehicles. For l customers who prefer to walk or ride a bicycle during the reconstruction project, NYCDOT is planning to install bicycle lanes on nearby streets and create enhanced pedestrian areas to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists sharing street space and sidewalks.

Features unique to Select Bus Service, which is New York City’s version of the internationally successful Bus Rapid Transit concept, include all-door boarding, off-board fare payment, traffic signal priority, dedicated bus lanes, enhanced customer safety street designs such as bus bulbs or bus stop islands, and electronic wayfinding signage and countdown clocks. These features have proven to attract new ridership and decrease commute times by up to 20 percent.

MTA New York City Transit and NYCDOT are conducting robust outreach with communities affected by the l train tunnel reconstruction project, meeting with local, federal and state elected officials and community boards, and hosting a long series of open houses, town halls and community workshops to gather public feedback. Public commentary has led to changes in the initial proposed service mitigation plans, and both the MTA and NYCDOT will continue to refine service plans based on community feedback once the reconstruction project begins. Once the reconstruction project ends and additional bus capacity on 14th Street is no longer needed, NYC Transit and NYCDOT will reach out to local communities to design a permanent route and street designs for M14 SBS.

For more information on the l train tunnel reconstruction project, visit the MTA’s micro-site on the Sandy damage, the planned repairs and alternate service plans.