By Tara Kyle
DNA info Reporter/Producer
HELL'S KITCHEN — Bus riders traversing 34th Street won't wait long to see the debut of a sidewalk payment system — installation is slated for this summer.
Curbside kiosks, like the ones already in place along the East side's M15 select bus service, will be set up on all major avenues along the soon to be redesigned thoroughfare, Ted Orosz, the MTA's director of long range bus planning, told Community Board 4's transportation committee Wednesday night.
The MTA plans to install two machines for MetroCards and one for coins at each stop, with the possibility for additional kiosks at the M16 line's busy eastbound Penn Station stop.
"The idea is to speed things up for everybody," Orosz said, by taking on-board fare payments out of the equation.
A few westbound bus stops at 34th Street's far western edges — such as the Tenth Avenue stop — may stay free of kiosks because so few people board at those locations.
Similarly, only a very small number of people board the M16 at 37th Street and Eighth Avenue, where the M16 stops before ending its West bound trip at Port Authority (the M16 then loops down Ninth Avenue to begin its eastbound 34th Street trip).
Consequently, that stop may also go without a sidewalk fare kiosk.
The actual installation of a kiosk is a relatively non-invasive process, typically requiring only a day per stop, according to Orosz.
Outfitting the entire street, however, should take a couple months.
Feedback offered by the CB4 committee included a request that the MTA explore placing the kiosks sideways instead of facing the street, which members said leaves pedestrians feeling more vulnerable to traffic.
Board member Ken Stewart also urged Orosz to make the patches of sidewalk hosting the kiosks visually and texturally distinct from their surroundings, as an aid to visually impaired bus riders.
"Each location requires a tremendous amount of care," Orosz said.