EAST SIDE — Damaged and peeling signage on ticketing machines at the city’s Select Bus Service stops is posing challenges to riders still learning how to navigate the year-old system, a local politician said Tuesday.
State Sen. Tom Duane released a report showing that more than half the ticket kiosks surveyed along the SBS route — which runs primarily along First and Second avenues, from Harlem to the Financial District — had either significant damage to their written instructions or the beginning of severe peeling.
Riders at SBS stops purchase their tickets at the street kiosks before boarding the bus, risking a hefty fine if caught traveling without one.
Sen. Duane said the kiosks’ written instructions are "vitally important" to riders still learning to adapt to the new system of buying tickets on the street.
“Without this signage, novice bus riders might not understand how to purchase bus tickets and, furthermore, might not even be aware that tickets must be purchased prior to boarding,” he said in a statement.
He added that more durable signage, such as that included on the city’s new Muni Meters should be used to prevent peeling and other damage.
In response, the MTA said it will install new signage on the kiosks to ensure “smooth and efficient operation.”
“We have ordered new signage made of a more durable material with stronger adhesive and we are beginning the process of installing the new decals,” MTA spokesman Charles Seaton said. “We expect to see significant improvements in both appearance and durability as a result.”
The senator’s survey of 30 machines along the SBS route revealed that six had such severely peeling signage that it obscured instructions for riders; eight had peeling signage that would become illegible if unrepaired; and another three showed early signs of severe peeling.
In June, DOT officials said SBS had seen a 30-percent increase in riders since its introduction in October 2010, noting that the buses were averaging about 4,000 trips per day at that time. DOT statistics also showed that the express buses ran 15 to 18 percent faster than regular M15 buses along the same route.
Additionally, as of the end of April, the city had issued 4,695 citations to scofflaw riders found traveling without a ticket.
"DOT and NYCT deserve enormous credit for introducing the M15 SBS, addressing early concerns with the system’s implementation and effectively reducing transit times on First and Second Avenue," Duane added.
"However, they must address the signage issue — on this and all lines throughout the five boroughs, including the forthcoming 34th Street Transitway — to make the service easier to use and increase the likelihood that riders will board with tickets in hand."