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New Verrazano Bridge Ramp Lets Express Buses Use HOV Lane to Reduce Traffic

By Nicholas Rizzi | October 13, 2017 4:28pm | Updated on October 16, 2017 9:40am
 The MTA added a slip-ramp for buses to switch between the upper- to lower-level of the bridge so they can stay on the HOV lane but still use early exits.
The MTA added a slip-ramp for buses to switch between the upper- to lower-level of the bridge so they can stay on the HOV lane but still use early exits.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

FORT WADSWORTH — All Staten Island-bound express buses can now use the HOV lane along the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to ease one of the longest commutes in the country.

Previously, four express bus lines couldn't use the bridge's upper-level HOV lane because they needed to exit from ramps only available on the the lower level.

After complaints of gridlock from commuters, the MTA on Wednesday added a bus-only "slip ramp" to let them switch from the upper to the lower level of the span and also changed the lines of the routes to exit at Fingerboard Road instead, Councilman Steven Matteo announced.

"We specifically advocated for a contiguous HOV lane to and from Manhattan to ease one of the toughest commutes in the country and to encourage more commuters to use fast, reliable express buses. So it was a cruel irony that all express buses couldn't fully utilize the HOV lane once that became a reality last month," Matteo said in a statement.

Last month, he and Borough President James Oddo wrote a letter calling for a solution to the problem.

“I am very pleased the MTA heard the concerns of Borough President Oddo and I when we brought this problem to them, and then provided a solution," Matteo added.

After a troubled rollout on the bridge's Brooklyn-bound carpool lane in the summer, the MTA opened the Staten Island-bound one Sept. 5.

However, the agency did not update the routes, and X4, X5, X7 and X8 buses were forced to exit the HOV lane before getting on the bridge and face traffic on the lower level.

With the new bus-only ramp, the buses will be able to ride the HOV lane from the Battery Tunnel to Staten Island without cutting out any stops, Matteo added.