There are dozens of bus routes on Staten Island, enabling riders to get just about anywhere from anywhere – provided you have enough time. But with the introduction of Staten Island Select Bus Service, starting with the S79, travel times may be getting a lot shorter for many people.
This new service has drastically cut stops along the S79 route running from the Staten Island Mall to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn down to 22 to allow for faster travel. The goal is to get riders to their destination between 15 and 20 minutes faster than was previously possible. Select Service began operating on Sunday, September 2nd, which gave the MTA a slower day with lighter traffic to test things out.
To accommodate the Select Busses, there are bus lanes clearly marked with red paint along parts of Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Ave. There are also new signs all along the route alerting drivers of the addition of the bus lane and at what times regular cars need to stay out of them. On certain stretches of road, motorists aren’t allowed in the bus lanes at all except to make a right turn. During peak travel times, from 6am-9am and from 3pm-7pm, there are certain areas that are exclusively for the buses as well, but that are otherwise open to motorists.
While the bus only lanes will help riders get to their destination faster, they will inevitably slow down traffic for drivers in these areas who now have less roadway to drive on. The hope is that drivers will see the benefits of public transportation and give it a try.
So far the reviews coming in are mixed. Some feel it’s a much faster way to travel, while others felt the alterations didn’t save them any time. Some riders noted service was excellent, while others felt there was room for improvement. With Select Bus Service having been in operation for such a short time, it’s safe to say it’s still in the testing stages, but hopefully all the kinks will be worked out soon to everyone’s advantage.