Queue Jumps: A Simple Fix to Speed Up NYC’s Buses

With the City Council set to take on NYC’s declining bus service tomorrow morning, here’s a look at one of the many strategies DOT and the MTA can employ to speed up the city’s slowest-in-the-nation buses: queue jumps.

Queue jumps give buses a green light before other vehicles at an intersection, often via a dedicated “queue jump lane” that allows buses to skip to the front of the line. Using footage from Seattle, Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson put together this short to demonstrate the concept.

There are already a few queue jumps in NYC — on the M86 Select Bus Service route, for example — but there should be a lot more of them. In its recent Mobility Report, DOT showed that it can now pinpoint specific street segments where buses get slowed down. These are locations where targeted improvements like queue jumps can make a big difference.

If DOT and the MTA think big about how to turn around NYC bus service, they’ll identify intersections all over town where buses should get a queue jump.

  • Vooch

    dedicated bus lanes on every arterial and avenue – get the red paint flowing

  • Sfgeoninja

    paint alone does very little in congested corridors, see the M34 for example. We need curb separation, rumble strips, bollards, emphasis on “dedicated” lanes.

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There are three queue jumps on the M86 route, including this one at Fifth Avenue and 84th Street. Photo: DOT

The M86 Moves Faster and More People Are Riding Thanks to Queue Jumps

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While bus ridership is down citywide -- and especially in Manhattan -- there are some routes that are bucking the trend. One that's gaining riders is the M86, which got a package of upgrades from DOT and the MTA in 2015. The improvements included off-board fare collection and queue jumps -- short bus lane segments that enable buses to cut ahead of other traffic at signals.

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Select Bus Service on 86th Street in Manhattan won’t be getting full bus-only lanes, but riders will benefit from short bus lanes at busy intersections. DOT has added two “queue-jump” lanes where 86th Street and 84th Street meet Fifth Avenue, to keep buses from getting stuck behind traffic waiting at lights. The most important component of the M86 SBS upgrade is off-board fare collection. The sidewalk fare […]

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