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Assembly Members Call for More Buses, Added Green-Light Syncing Technology

By Ben Fractenberg | August 22, 2017 7:05pm | Updated on August 23, 2017 11:33am
 Bronx State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz calls for improved bus service during a press conference outside City Hall Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.
Bronx State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz calls for improved bus service during a press conference outside City Hall Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

CIVIC CENTER — Dozens of State Assembly members on Tuesday called on the MTA and DOT to rapidly make service improvements such as adding additional buses, allowing riders to enter through rear bus doors and syncing more traffic lights with oncoming buses.

On Tuesday, 45 members signed a letter to Chairman Joe Lhota calling for the agency to come up with the fixes within six months.

“Transit Signal Priority and all-door boarding are no-brainer changes that could reduce bus travel times by 25 [percent] for minimal investment,” northwest Bronx State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said in a statement. "Let's not delay [anymore], and bring our bus system into the 21st Century.” 

Two and a half million residents ride buses in the city each day that travel at an average speed of just 7.4 miles per hour, compared with 10.7 miles per hour in Los Angeles, according to the assembly members.

The DOT announced in July it would expand the green-light signal system to 15 additional bus lines by 2020.

The agency first tested the system in 2006 on Staten Island buses and found the system reduced travel times, according to one study.

It is currently used on five Select Bus Service routes, including along Nostrand Avenue in Bed-Stuy, as well as First and Second avenues in Manhattan, and has reduced travel times by up to 18 percent, according to the DOT.

Representatives were mixed on their reaction to congestion pricing, which has been proposed to lessen traffic in areas such as Midtown.

Dinowtiz said he had previously been against the plan when it was introduced nine years ago, but would re-evaluate at any new proposals.

“All options need to be on the table,” he said during the Tuesday press conference.

Upper Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez agreed during the press conference that “congestion pricing should be on the table.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in June to fix the ailing subway system and Lhota later released a proposed $800 million plan to improve service

"Reliable and strong bus service is a key priority of the MTA which is exactly why we are installing Transit Signalization Prioritization technology across our fleet and exploring ways to expand all door boarding," MTA spokesman Andrei Berman said in a statement. 

"We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the NYPD who do bus lane enforcement, as well as at NYC DOT who play a key role in reducing congestion on their streets, installing their own technology and helping our buses move faster."

Correction: The original story misstated the letter signers as City Council Members when they were State Assemblymembers.