Busway pilot begun last year has sped up buses for 47,000 daily riders by 47%

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman celebrated City Hall in Your Borough: Brooklyn today by announcing that the Jay Street Busway in Downtown Brooklyn will be made permanent. Piloted in August 2020 as part of the Better Buses Restart plan, the Jay Street busway serves 47,000 riders on seven different Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus routes. DOT data from the first year of operation shows buses have increased speeds by 47 percent.

The permanent busway caps a transformation of Jay Street under Vision Zero. The de Blasio administration has removed most private vehicle traffic from the previously gridlocked corridor, which now largely serves only sustainable transportation uses – with both dedicated bus lanes and protected bicycle lanes. “Downtown Brooklyn deserves better bus service, and the Jay Street busway has already improved commutes for thousands of residents, workers, and students who rely on it every day. It’s time to make it permanent – and build on this progress to make public transit faster, safer, and more reliable for riders in every borough,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“47,000 of our fellow New Yorkers are enjoying faster, more reliable bus rides because of this busway,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “We’re transforming Downtown Brooklyn, getting cars out of the picture and focusing on our sustainable transportation future, transit and cycling.”

“Busways are vital to many New Yorkers who depend on safe, reliable public transportation to get to and from a variety of destinations,” said NYPD Chief of Transportation Kim Royster. “Buses are an important component of Vision Zero and the NYPD will continue to keep our buses, as well as overall traffic, moving safely while protecting pedestrians and cyclist who use our city streets.”

“The Jay Street Busway has significantly improved bus speeds along that bustling roadway since its implementation last year,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “The tens of thousands of riders who use this busy route will continue to benefit from the bus lanes that have now been made permanent, allowing people to get to their destination at a much faster pace than before. Implementing busways is an important step to improving our transportation network, increasing sustainable transit options, and protecting our environment. MTA New York City Transit buses are leading the way to more seamless travel across the city.”

The Jay Street busway serves MTA buses on the B26, B54, B57, B61, B62, B65 and B67 routes. It operates between Tillary Street and Livingston Street, where only buses and trucks are now permitted between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Local access for cars is allowed, but cars must enter from side streets. Bus-lane restrictions are enforced by automated bus-lane cameras, both stationary and positioned on MTA buses.

Busways have proven an effective tool for creating faster and more reliable bus service. Since 2020, the de Blasio administration has also expanded the program to 181st Street in Manhattan, Main Street in Flushing and along Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue in Downtown Jamaica. Combined, these new busways serve more than half a million riders every day.

“Making the Jay Street Busway permanent is terrific news for Brooklyn’s transit passengers. So many of us use this busway every day to access the educational, business, medical, and cultural areas of Downtown Brooklyn,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “I am so pleased that this faster, reliable, and sustainable service with accessible options for older adults and people with disabilities is permanently part of our transit system. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Gutman and the advocates for their work on this issue.”

“I am happy to hear that the piloted Jay Street Busway will remain a permanent busway. We must expand the Better Buses Restart Plan so that other neighborhoods in the outer-boroughs can have reliable and efficient bus services,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “Busways have improved riders travel time and reduced wait period, creating a better rider experience. I hope to be able to continue working alongside City Hall, the DOT, and transit advocates to ensure we are continuously improving our public transportation system.”

“The Jay Street busway is a great example of how we can reclaim our streets for transit that is more efficient, more sustainable, and safer than single-occupancy vehicles can ever be,” said Regina Myer, President of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The busway complements our vision for Downtown Brooklyn’s public realm by prioritizing people and the environment, and we look forward to seeing more transformative City-lead projects coming our way.”

“The Jay Street Busway is yet another crucial link in the city’s bus network, and we are thrilled that DOT is making the busway permanent,” said Liam Blank, Policy & Communications Manager for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “With traffic congestion on the rise, and average bus speeds cratering as a result, it’s targeted investments like the Jay Street Busway that will produce significant benefits for thousands of daily bus riders. We truly applaud Mayor de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Gutman for continuing to prioritize sustainable and equitable transit on the city’s streets.”

“Busways and bus lanes are effective and inexpensive means to improve the commutes of riders across the city,” said Riders Alliance Deputy Director Caitlin Pearce. “The Jay Street busway has improved bus speed by a whopping 30%, delivering significant time savings for thousands of riders traveling through this critical transportation hub. With New York City bus riders facing some of the slowest commutes in the nation, we commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman for taking this step.”

“Making the Jay Street Busway permanent locks down a major improvement in transit riders’ lives,” said TransitCenter Senior Advocacy Associate Ashley Pryce. “The pilot showed the power of this street treatment to speed up buses 20-40 percent. Those time savings not only mean faster trips for New Yorkers who depend on transit, but more time to spend with loved ones and do the things that matter. DOT is making the commitments in the Better Buses Restart a reality, and we look forward to the continued rollout of street priority projects that improve bus service for those who need it most.”

Photos of the busway can be found on DOT’s Flickr page.