On October 1st, the MTA launched a Select Bus Service (SBS) for the B82 route, which provides limited service along Pennsylvania Avenue to Bensonhurst and other parts of East New York.
The SBS system decreases travel congestion because riders can simply board the bus at either of the two entrances. By allowing riders to hop on the bus, it reduces the amount of time spent waiting for a passenger to rifle through their bag and pay their fare. Instead, the fare is paid at a small machine located at the limited bus stops. In a survey conducted by the the Department of Transportation (DOT), researchers found that buses were delayed by traffic, double parking, and long lines to board the buses. “SBS is New York City’s brand name for Bus Rapid Transit: an improved bus service that offers fast, frequent, and reliable service on high-ridership bus routes,” according to a power point presentation by the DOT.
These machines, which resemble Metrocard machines, require that you press start, insert your Metro-card, and then a receipt is given. You MUST keep this receipt as proof you have paid your fare. If not, you will be considered evading the fare and could be issued a civil summons by a transit officer. A DOT spokesperson told the Spring Creek Sun that “Customer Ambassadors will be at most SBS stops through the first week to assist riders. MTA and DOT provide brochures that show passengers how to use the machines.”
There is a serious risk of receiving a traffic ticket for riders who try to pay their fare once they leave the bus or students who’ve forgotten their school Metrocard if they do not have this receipt. Just a few days after the new SBS was launch-ed, there were transit officers in Spring Creek Towers (SCT) ready to search the buses and examine passengers’ receipts. There is a temptation to just hop on the bus because you are in a rush, and as commuters we know that the bus service in the SCT community is not the most reliable.
The B82 has an infamous record of both skipping stops and running a fleet of “Not in Service Buses,” during off peak hours, making you wait 45 minutes to an hour for the next bus. There are a great deal of frustrations to be felt towards the MTA; however, the transit police will not take these as excuses for evading your fare.
As a commuter community, this implementation can be considered good news for residents who are now able to get to their destinations faster. This new service line runs only on the weekdays and comes in tow with the DOT’s road improve-ments that were constructed over the summer, designating a bus lane with red pavement on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The B82 service changes are a part of Governor Cuomo’s Vision Zero initiative, which is a multi-agency effort to reduce traffic fatali-ties and improve overall transit safety. “As part of the 2009 NYC DOT Phase II Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Study, improving crosstown bus service in Southern Brooklyn was identified as one of the most pressing bus service needs in New York City. The B82 currently serves 28,000+ riders per day and connects transit riders to 6 north-south subway lines and 21 bus routes. The B82 also connects riders to neighborhoods and jobs stretching from Coney Island to Canarsie and East New York. Select Bus Service improvements along this route will provide for better transit connections across Southern Brooklyn,” according to a press release by the DOT.
Photos by Amanda Moses