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PR- 369-09
August 11, 2009


Pilot Program at No Cost to the City or MTA

Select Bus Service Lanes on 34th Street have already Improved Travel Times by 17 Percent

Part of PlaNYC Goal for Making Bus Service more Attractive

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Interim MTA Executive Director Helena E. Williams and NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. today launched a pilot that will provide real-time bus arrival information at eight City bus shelters serving two 34th Street bus lines. The real-time information signs, which are updated every 30 seconds, display the number of minutes until the next bus arrives using computer-assisted GPS satellite technology installed aboard the 30 buses on the M34 and M16 routes. The routes are operated by MTA/NYC Transit and carry 17,000 daily passengers. The real-time arrival information pilot on 34th Street will be evaluated during a six-month period, with the goal of expanding the program to more routes and stops. The pilot will be conducted at no cost to the City or MTA, with GPS technology provided by Clever Devices and panel space for the LED signs provided by Cemusa.

"Starting today, we are eliminating the question 'where is my bus' for crosstown bus riders at locations on 34th Street," said Mayor Bloomberg. "By inaugurating this real-time arrival information pilot, we are making good on a promise made in our sustainability agenda - PlaNYC - and it's the latest step we're taking with the MTA to improve mass transit. Knowing when your bus will arrive will make commuting more attractive, more convenient, and less stressful."

"By working together, the City and the MTA can improve bus service and make the best city in the world easier to navigate," said MTA Chairman Hemmerdinger. "This partnership has already paid dividends and these new bus arrival screens are a major milestone in our joint efforts to keep bus riders moving"

"Having a transportation network you can count on can be as simple as knowing if the next bus is coming in one minute or in ten minutes," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "The bus enhancements we made on 34th Street last year greatly improved travel times on a corridor notorious for slow bus speeds, and we need to do even more to make bus travel an even more attractive and robust part of our transportation network."

"More than 2.5 million people rely on MTA buses every day, and we are pursuing innovative strategies to enhance bus service throughout the city," Interim MTA Executive Director Helena E. Williams. "Today we are building on the great success of Select Bus Service and piloting a customer information system that will take the guesswork out of riding the crosstown bus."

"This pilot project to provide customers on the 34th Street corridor with real-time information and automated announcements is yet another example of the cooperation between NYC Transit and NYCDOT that has flourished in the past two years and produced initiatives like the successful implementation of Select Bus Service along the Bx12 Fordham Road - Pelham Parkway corridor in the Bronx," said NYC Transit President Roberts.

The real-time arrival system identifies the actual position of the buses, the expected traffic patterns and the distance to the next bus shelter to calculate a wait-time estimate for riders. The information is transmitted via a cellular system to LED displays mounted inside and outside of shelters, along with the time and temperature. The estimated arrival times are listed by bus line number.

Buses along the two 34th Street routes will now be equipped with automated announcements that will inform riders of their next stop. NYC Transit is exploring additional ways that real-time arrival information could be made available to the public via the internet and handheld devices.

Buses traveling on 34th Street benefit from the Select Bus Service program, with high-visibility, enforceable bus-only lanes from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM on weekdays. Since Select Bus Service lanes were installed on 34th Street in September, travel times on the M34 crosstown route from First to Eleventh Avenues have improved by 17 percent, from about 29 minutes, down to 24 minutes. Time spent by M34 buses idling at red signals decreased by 29 percent, or by about 2 minutes.

Shelters along the 34th Street routes that will be equipped with real time arrival data are the eastbound bus stops at Tenth, Ninth, Eighth and Park avenues and the westbound bus stops at First, Second, Third, and Lexington Avenues.

The bus shelters are built and maintained by Cemusa under a contract that is bringing more than $1 billion in revenue to the City over 20 years.


Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958

Jeremy Soffin (MTA)   (212) 878-7440

Seth Solomonow/Scott Gastel (DOT)   (212) 839-4850


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