Riding the East Side SBS With Assembly Member Jonathan Bing
To mark the first real weekday rush hour for the East Side’s Select Bus Service, transit advocates took local elected officials on a bus ride down Second Avenue this morning. I caught up with Assembly Member Jonathan Bing during the trip to see what he thought of his district’s new and improved bus service.
Bing started off by recalling how dysfunctional M15 service was before the roll-out of SBS. “The buses were spending 20 percent of their time idling,” he said. By allowing passengers to pay their fare before boarding and enter all three doors, he said, Select Bus Service should cut down on that delay and help alleviate bus bunching.
He also expects the performance of the route to improve in the months ahead. Bing sponsored the legislation in the State Assembly authorizing bus lane enforcement cameras, and he noted that the start of camera enforcement next month should keep the bus lanes even clearer than they are today.
Last December, Bing and 18 other electeds signed a letter urging the creation of both physically separated bus lanes and bike lanes for the entire route. While the changes eventually fell short of those goals, Bing said it’s too soon to think ahead to future improvements on the corridor. “We’ll have to see how this works,” he said of the SBS features.
Bing, whose district stretches from east Midtown to the Upper East Side, is also taking a wait-and-see approach to extending the protected bike lanes up the length of the corridor from 34th Street. “In a perfect world,” he said, “you’d be able to have bike lanes and bus lanes and separation.” For now, Bing said there remain “lots of issues.”