The city is hoping to speed up travel for Q44 riders by 15 to 23 percent by having passengers purchase their tickets before boarding buses that use dedicated lanes along certain portions of the 14-mile route, according to the Department of Transportation.
The route, which serves about 42,000 riders on a daily basis, “is a vital inter-borough transit link, connecting the Bronx and Queens," according to the MTA. It also provides "connections to several subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road” and “connects two thriving commercial neighborhoods in Queens, Flushing and Jamaica.”
But the route goes along Main Street and Sutphin Boulevard, which are often severely congested, significantly slowing buses down.
The city hopes the new service will change it.
Passengers can now pay with their MetroCard or coins before boarding at machines at Select Bus Service stops and get on using all available doors.
Bus lanes, which operate during rush hour, also aim to speed up travel. The lanes, however, have only been implemented on Sutphin Boulevard, Archer Avenue and Hillside Avenue in downtown Jamaica and on Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Reeves Avenue in downtown Jamaica.
They have not been installed in the neighborhoods along the rest of the Select Bus Service route after locals opposed them, officials said.
The service also includes improved bus stations and real-time information on arrivals, according to the Department of Transportation.