Eyes on the Street: Red Paint for “Queue-Jump” Bus Lanes on the M86

A new bus lane next to the right-turn lane keeps buses from getting stuck at the back of the line as they exit the 86th Street Transverse at Fifth Avenue. Photo: Stephen Miller
A “queue-jump” bus lane next to the right-turn lane keeps buses from getting stuck at the back of the line as they exit the 86th Street Transverse at Fifth Avenue. Photo: Stephen Miller

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 machines have been installed, but are not yet turned on for passengers.

When the upgraded service launches, the SBS vehicles will also receive flashing blue destination signs so riders can easily distinguish them from local buses. The new signs have begun rolling out on the M15 SBS on First and Second avenues.

A queue-jump bus lane at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue. The off-board fare payment machines have been installed, but won't be turned on until later this month. Photo: Stephen Miller
A queue-jump bus lane at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue. The off-board fare payment machines have been installed, but won’t be turned on until later this month. Photo: Stephen Miller

The MTA originally promised to begin M86 SBS service this spring, then settled on a June 28 launch date. That date has now been pushed back to sometime this month.

The delay is caused by ongoing construction on the East Side that prevented installation of ticket machines on the sidewalk, said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. The MTA will announce a launch date for Select Bus Service soon, he said.

Streetsblog will not be publishing tomorrow in observance of Independence Day. Enjoy the long weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.

  • cjstephens

    The strangest thing happened: the link to this story appeared on my Facebook feed while I was on the M86 bus, just as we were crossing Fifth Avenue where this lane has been installed. Spooky.

  • AnoNYC

    Why isn’t this just standard citywide?

  • Mathew Smithburger

    Good idea, but Staten Island drivers visiting that area of Manhattan will be frightened and confused by the red paint and lobby their city council and state assembly reps. to have it removed.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Buy a lottery ticket? This modest change is lucky for all of us, but you got a Sign. LOL.

  • WoodyinNYC

    Makes sense, doesn’t it. Hope this is just the start on citywide practice.

  • Andres Dee

    “When the upgraded service launches, the SBS vehicles will also receive flashing blue destination signs so riders can easily distinguish them from local buses.”

    Will there be both local and SBS buses on 86th? Hardly seems worth it.

  • Andrew

    No, the SBS will make the same stops as the current M86. There’s no separate local.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

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

|
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.

Eyes on the Street: West 125th Street Gets Its Bus Lanes

|
It’s finally happening. More than a year after bus lanes were installed on 125th Street east of Lenox Avenue, the first signs have appeared that DOT will soon be painting red bus-only lanes in West Harlem. The first round of camera-enforced bus lanes, from Lenox to Second Avenue, have helped speed local buses on 125th Street between 7 and […]

34th Street Select Bus Service Launches This Sunday

|
It’s no physically separated transitway, but bus riders can still get excited about the launch of Select Bus Service along 34th Street this Sunday. Additional SBS features should significantly speed trips along.34th Street, which already has dedicated lanes for the heavy crosstown bus traffic. By taking care of fare payment before riders board and allowing […]