Bronx commuters welcomed a new travel option Monday with the launch of the BX41 Select Service Bus line, which runs along Webster and Melrose Avenue and aims to provide locals with faster and easier commutes. NY1's Transit reporter Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Monday marked the first weekday morning commute for Select Bus Service along a five-mile stretch of one of the busiest roads in the Bronx.
"I think it is much faster," said one commuter. "You don't have to wait for people to dip their MetroCards. Everyone can just step on."
Top officials from the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the city's Department of Transportation joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning to launch the Bx41 SBS line, which allows commuters along Webster and Melrose Avenues to pay fares in advance and board buses from multiple entrances.
The Bx41 is the city's fifth SBS line, and officials say travel times have been cut by up to 20 percent on buses that make fewer stops and travel in their own marked lanes.
"They work, there's just no question about that," said Bloomberg. "These things – a lot of people were skeptical – but these are working, a lot lower times and more ridership, which is a good measure of whether it's a good way to get around."
The line will stretch from The Hub on East 149th Street to East Gun Hill Road in Williamsbridge, joining the existing local Bx41 that serves more than 20,000 riders daily.
Commuters say they welcome the new travel option.
"I would say it's probably better, it is, but I can see some type of maybe an inconvenience if you're late and you have to rush and put your MetroCard in the machine, wait for the ticket, and try to catch a bus," said another commuter.
The MTA posted employees at stops along the Bx41 route to explain how to pay fares and how to board the buses to commuters not familiar with the line's quirks.
"We need more buses like that," said a resident.
The Bx41 is the second SBS line in the Bronx. The Bx12 along Fordham Road was introduced in 2008 and was the first anywhere in town. The DOT and the MTA have plans to keep expanding SBS.
This latest SBS line will operate northbound from 6 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. and southbound from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.