Manhattan is getting its third Select Bus Service line this weekend along 125th Street, a project that almost didn't get the green light. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
The wait for Select Bus Service along 125th Street is almost over.
Starting Sunday, the seventh such line in the city arrives, with close to 10,000 riders on the M60 promised speedier rides with fewer stops.
It comes nearly six years after the first select line debuted in the Bronx.
"I have taken it in Fordham, in the Bronx, so I thought it was a good idea to bring it over here," said one bus rider.
Getting to this point, though, hasn't been a smooth ride. Last July, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city Department of Transportation shelved plans to bring SBS to the M60, citing community opposition.
A few tweaks and many community meetings later, the plan is back and about to become a reality, with painted bus-only lanes and machines where riders pay fares before boarding from any entrance. Three other lines will continue to make local stops.
"I see it as as picking up the pace because everybody got to wake up and realize, it's over. The day of slow days and the molasses ways is over," said one person in the neighborhood. "This thing is going to pick up so fast once all these buildings go up. This is going to be a fast-paced thing, so we got to move along with the times."
It's the third SBS line in Manhattan. The M15 runs along First and Second avenues, and the M34 cuts across 34th Street.
The city DOT says travel times have been reduced by 20 percent, on average, on the other SBS lines citywide. The hope is that that pattern continues on 125th Street, where buses sometimes move as slow as 2.7 mph. You could beat that walking.
There's still plenty of grumbling, however, about the line that will stretch from 106th Street and Broadway to LaGuardia Airport, especially along busy 125th Street.
"It's one of those streets that will sort of be a crawl," said one member of the community. "You're not going to fix it with this SBS service. You're just not."
Shopkeepers said the new bus lanes mess with their business, too.
"So for parking, double parking, it's a disaster. You can't double park," said one shopkeeper. "For deliveries, my delivery, any of the other retail stores all the way down the block, it's simply, it's just not working at all."
As for riders, they can judge for themselves come Sunday.