What you need to know about the Bronx bus redesign

The MTA’s redesign of the Bronx bus network, which launched on Sunday, June 26, has overhauled dozens of old routes, aiming to speed up travel times for commuters in the district.

The refurbishment is years in the making and has reconfigured the Bronx’s 46 routes.

Last week, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said the proposal would help the approximately 420,000 daily riders who relied on the bus system before the pandemic to get around better.

“Ensuring equal opportunities for all New Yorkers depends on equal access to reliable transportation, and buses are vital — especially for seniors, schoolchildren and those who don’t live near subways,” Lieber said in a statement. “I am excited to launch a more efficient local bus network that would help deliver better service and access to jobs, education and opportunities – both within the municipality and in the city.”

What has changed?

The redesign has “significantly” changed 13 of the current 46 bus routes, while adding two new ones, but most lines will see some changes to their stops and timetables.

The MTA’s plan will eliminate 375 bus stops, or about 18% of total stations, to give them more space and speed up travel times.

The changes affect the Bronx’s Local, Restricted, and Select Bus Service routes, but not express buses.

Why is this happening?

The MTA plans to redesign bus networks in each of the five boroughs, starting with the Staten Island express bus network in 2018.

The remakes launched under former New York City Transit president Andy Byford to upgrade the complex routes, which are old and cumbersome due to a mix of public and private bus and trolley lines that were consolidated into the MTA.

The Bronx plan kicked off in early 2019, but all redesigns were on hold during the pandemic until the MTA relaunched them in August 2021.

Officials released a draft plan for Queens in March, and another proposal for Brooklyn is due before the end of the year.

Cutting stops?

Probably the most controversial aspect of the redesign, the removal of bus stops, is a balancing act the MTA is taking to speed up its notoriously slow buses.

New York City has some of the slowest buses in the country, and the stops are an average of 800 feet apart, compared to 1,000 to 1,680 feet in other systems.

Getting on and off stops also takes time, and transit officials estimate that each station removed saves about 20 seconds of travel time.

So while a bus may no longer stop within a block or two of your apartment building, it will get you where you need to go faster once you get on.

Or, as Lieber recently put it, riders deserve “a system that gets you from place to place faster than walking.”

Learn more about your new routes

MTA posted their new timetables for the Bronx online just over two weeks ago, which also have profiles showing how each route will change.

The agency launched an online trip planner that recommends the best bus routes to choose for your commute.

According to the MTA, so-called customer ambassadors have also been in place in recent weeks, and will remain so for another two weeks, to help riders transition to the new network.

The MTA’s new bus routes and timetables came into effect on June 26 and are available at new.mta.info/schedules/bus/bronx.

For MTA’s trip planner, visit futuretrips.mta.info