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The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA, publicly known as MTA New York City Transit as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority) operates roughly 4,500 buses within the 5 boroughs of New York City daily branded as both MTA New York City Bus, and MTA Bus. The bus system is meant to complement the New York City Subway, and the MTA's commuter rail service. Between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM "Request-a-Stop" service is available. The Bus Operator may discharge passengers at a location along the route that is not a bus stop, as long as it is considered safe. If the location is not "safe", the bus operator will discharge passengers at the nearest safe location.
NYCT Buses are painted white with a centered horizontal blue band. Within the band is the MTA logo followed by the text: "New York City Bus" or Bus and the bus number. The bus number sometimes appears above the driver's side window, or the front doors on some Orion buses. Destination signs are located above the windshield of the bus and the first window on the right side. The route number is indicated on an electronic display mounted on the back right corner of the exterior.
Historically, New York City buses were green. Through the introduction of plastic seats to replace cushioned seats in the early 1960s, even the seats were green (with minor exceptions). In 1971, a change in livery to blue was conducted, including repainting of the interior seats as well as the exterior of the bus. In 1979, the blue was saved merely as trim and the majority of the exterior design was transitioned to white.
All five boroughs are covered by bus service. A few routes leave city limits, albeit briefly. The Q5 and Q85 cross the Nassau County border to go the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream. The Q2 and Q110 leave Queens County as they run along Hempstead Turnpike and onto the Cross Island Parkway where they re-enter city-limits. The Q46 runs along Lakeville Road in Lake Success, Nassau County upon entering Long Island Jewish Hospital. The Bx16 bus runs in to Westchester County, but only for a block for each branch. The Q111 enters Nassau County to reach its part-time terminal in Cedarhurst. The Q113 serves the Nassau communities of Cedarhurst and Inwood to reach its destination in Far Rockaway. The BxM3 leaves The Bronx to reach its northern terminus in Yonkers. The S89 LTD runs to and from Bayonne, New Jersey during Rush Hours, making it the first interstate route.
Buses are identified by the first letter of their borough in front of an individual line number. For Example, using the letter “B”, as an abbreviation for Brooklyn, and 25, the number, we'd create the B25. This system extends to all local routes. The abbreviations are:
- B: Brooklyn Bus Routes
- Bx: Bronx Bus Routes
- M: Manhattan Bus Routes
- Q: Queens Bus Routes
- S: Staten Island Bus Routes
This identification system was adopted in the mid-1970s, prior to which buses had only a single route number, sometimes followed by a letter (such as the 2a).
There are cases where buses travel between 2 boroughs. In that case, the borough where the bus operates most, wins the designation. This is the case with the Bx15, while running for its most portion in The Bronx, a smaller section is serviced along 125th Street in Harlem.
Most express buses carry an “X” designation in front of their number. Some express bus routes (usually those run out of MTA Bus depots) start with a "QM", "BM", or "BxM", depending on which boros the route runs in. (Example: The QM10 runs between Queens and Manhattan).
Some routes also have a suffix. They are often used to designate branches or feeder routes, such as the Q65, or a limited stop Route such as the Q10LTD. the R in the Q101R designates that the bus travels to Rikers Island, New York's main correctional facility. (NOTE: This bus route no longer exists).
A former MTA sister agency, Long Island Bus (Now NICE (Nassau Inter County Express) Bus) gives its routes the "N" prefix to designate "Nassau County".
It should also be noted that while the MTA doesn't provide local service in Westchester County, many Bee-Line Bus System routes commonly have "W" prefixes in front of their route numbers to designate "Westchester County".
Also, many Suffolk Transit buses carry the "S" designator for Suffolk County. But since most New York City residents don't use Suffolk Transit and vice-versa, there is little or no confusion between the Suffolk Transit's "S" designator and Staten Island's "S" designator.
MTA Bus Company routes follow the same guidelines, although some two-boro routes have multi-borough designations. The Q50LTD is one since it travels between Flushing, Queens and Co-op City, The Bronx.
Local and Limited-stopEdit
Local and limited-stop buses provide service within a borough. While local buses make all stops along a route, limited-stop buses only make stops at busy transfer points, points of interest, and heavily used roadways. Limited stop service was first attempted with the M4 bus during rush hours in 1973, then expanded to other routes from there. The usual setup is that Limited stop service runs the full route, while local services run only in the Limited stop area, and the Limited stop buses run local at the tail ends of the route not served by locals, similar to the operation of many subway lines. Some passengers may need to transfer to the Limited to continue their trip, hence is where this is one of the few cases where three legged transfers exist on a Metrocard.
The following New York City bus routes run limited stop service:
* Indicates that service is provided daily.
The majority of bus routes operate between 05:00 and 01:30. Some routes run continuously, albeit with considerably longer headways (20 to 70 minutes, most being 60) during the late nights.
Express buses usually operate between the outer boroughs and Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan. While most express routes only operate during peak weekday hours, some routes (including the X1, X10, X27, X28, and various MTA Bus routes) run on a daily basis, from about 5:00 am to 1:00 am. Express buses cost more than local buses, but provide extra amenities, including reading lights, and reclining seats. They also use "over the road" MCI 102DLW3SS, D4500, D4501, D4500 CL/New Flyer D45S buses, which are more suitable than local buses for highway service.
Local buses are widely acknowledged as being notoriously slow, especially in Manhattan. The Straphangers Campaign, a riders' advocacy group, has since 2002 awarded the "Pokeys" (as in "slowpoke") in its annual survey of bus speed and service frequency. The M34, which runs crosstown along the heavily congested 34th Street, has won the dubious honor for two years in a row (2004 and 2005). In response to this and other similar criticism, the MTA has commissioned a feasibility study for a bus rapid transit system, with a report due in 2007.
The fare for riding any local or limited stop bus route is US$2.50 one-way trip (US$1.25 for seniors and disabilities), regardless of the distance traveled. An express bus fare costs a flat US$6.00 each way (US$3.00 off-peak hours for seniors and disabilities). Fares are payable with a Metrocard or in exact change with coins (except Pennies and Half-Dollars). Only Express Bus Plus and Pay-Per-Ride (with at least a $6.00 balance) MetroCards work on express buses. At one time, change was given by the driver on local buses. This practice ceased when the fare rose above 20¢.
Dollar Bills are not accepted on any local buses, as a vacuum is used to collect coins, and such process would tear dollar bills.
When paying with change, a passenger can request a MetroCard Bus Transfer. It is valid for two hours and can be used only on Local and Limited Stop buses. Bus Transfers were called "Add-A-Ride" coupons when they were first made available in the 1970s for an additional charge.
Single fares were been reduced to $1.00 from $2.00 for non-weekday dates during the 2005 holiday season and for the week from Christmas through New Year's holiday week. As of early 2006, the MTA was considering continuing this into future holiday seasons. At this point the MTA has ceased doing this, with the local / limited bus fare still at $2.50.
Bus Depots and Fleet Edit
NYCTA and MTA Bus operate a very diverse fleet of buses. Currently, the fleet is slowly becoming environmentally-friendly as with MTA New York City Transit's counterpart Long Island Bus. The MTA has been purchasing newer low floor Compressed Natural Gas and Hybrid Electric buses. All gas powered buses use Ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. All buses in the New York City Transit fleet are wheelchair accessible, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Buses are run out of depots spread throughout the city.
All buses at MTA Bus and MTA NYCT Bus depots are Wheelchair accessible.
Maintenance and TrainingEdit
- The Zerega Avenue Central Maintenance Facility - Serves as a registry facility for new buses and a major maintenance and surface transportation training/instruction facility.
- The East New York Central Maintenance Facility
- The Grand Avenue/Maspeth Central Maintenance Facility - Currently under construction, and will replace the East New York Central Maintenance Facility as a primary maintenance facility system-wide.
Depots with their route operations are listed below.
Currently Operated Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority/New York City Transit Bus Depots:
- Gun Hill Depot
- Kingsbridge Depot
- Mother Clara Hale Depot - (formerly 146th Street Depot) Has completed construction and is now open.
- West Farms Depot - formerly Coliseum Depot
- Tuskegee Airmen Depot - formerly 100st Street Depot
- 126th Street Depot (In now closed, now that Mother Clara Hale has re-opened).
- Manhattanville Depot - formerly 132nd Street Depot
- Michael J. Quill Depot - formerly West Side Depot
- Amsterdam Depot (Only houses museum buses; does not run any regular bus routes)
- East New York Depot
- Flatbush Depot
- Fresh Pond Depot
- Grand Avenue Depot
- Jackie Gleason Depot - formerly 5th Avenue Depot
- Ulmer Park Depot
Staten Island DivisionEdit
MTA Bus FacilitesEdit
Currently Operated MTA Bus Depots; Formerly, all 7 private bus lines in The Bronx, Westchester, Queens and Brooklyn.
- Eastchester Depot; former New York Bus Service (NYBS) facility
- Yonkers Depot; former Liberty EXPRESS Bus (Liberty Lines Inc.) facility (actually in Westchester County, New York)
- Spring Creek Depot; former Command Bus Company facility
- College Point Depot; former Queens Surface Bus Corporation facility
- Far Rockaway Depot; former Green Lines Bus Company satellite facility
- John F. Kennedy Depot; former Green Lines Bus Company main facility
- Baisley Park Depot; former Jamaica Buses, Inc. facility
- LaGuardia Bus Depot; former Triboro Coach Corporation facility
- Official MTA New York City Transit Bus page
- A New York City Transit Bus Discussion Forum
- National Current & Historic Transit Bus Photographs
- Urban Transit Club (UTC) New York City Bus Roster
- A Photo Collection
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