UPPER WEST SIDE — The M60 bus to LaGuardia Airport is temporarily moving its layover position from Broadway to residential West End Avenue to accommodate a fleet of new extended buses.
The MTA has added a fleet of "articulated," or accordion-style buses, to the M60 route to cope with the rising ridership on "one of our more successful bus routes," said MTA representative Buckley Young — but the larger buses can't fit at the current layover position at the end of the route at Broadway and 106th Street.
The best option, Young said, was to move the layover position to quiet, non-commercial West End Avenue between West 107 and 108th Streets.
"You will get total opposition to placing [the layover] in front of a residential block," said Community Board 7 Chair Mark Diller.
"We don’t like to put a layover on an avenue because there’s a lot of traffic there," replied Young.
"You’re not talking about an optimal situation [either way]," concluded Diller.
While bus ridership has been going down across the city, ridership on the M60 line has increased by 5.5 percent from April 2011 to April 2012, Diller said.
The larger "articulated" buses accomodate 67 riders instead of 47 riders.
The MTA is slowly phasing in articulated buses now, and it expects only articulated buses to run on the route by January, officials said.
"As more and more of the route gets converted to articulated buses, it will become more evident if [the location] is working," said Albert.
Community Board 7 members expressed concern over the move, but the transportation committee approved a trial period for the new position.
Though the approval of the new layover position became effective immediately in mid-September, Andrew Albert, the transportation committee co-chair, said "we have asked the Bus Division to reach out to the block and surrounding area to notify everyone of the [six month] evaluation."
Young assured the committee that the articulated buses being put on the route are quieter than the shorter buses and so would be less disruptive to neighbors.
The addition of the extended buses means that the MTA will reduce the number of buses running on the route, Young said.
The added seat capacity means buses will run "every 10 minutes versus the current 8 to 9 minutes," said Young.