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Tuesday’s Headlines: Free Buses Edition

New York City's free bus test-run begins this September. Plus other news.

12:03 AM EDT on July 18, 2023

Say goodbye to this — on five routes, for now.

Free buses are coming to New York City!

New York's legislatively-mandated free bus test-run will begin this September on one route in each borough and run for either six or 12 months, Gov. Hochul and MTA officials said Monday.

The first five fare-free buses are the Bx18 in the Bronx, the B60 in Brooklyn, the M116 in Manhattan, the Q4 in Queens, and the S46/96 on Staten Island. The routes were selected for "minimum overlap" with other bus routes or the subway and all connect to either medical centers, colleges or malls, officials said.

Officials plan to evaluate changes in ridership, and the nature of who takes advantage of the new fare-free service, said Judy McClain, the MTA's Chief of Operations Planning.

"We really want to understand the ridership changes," McClain said.

"You know, we want to know if there's growth on the routes, where's that growth coming from? Is it coming from the non fare-free routes? Or is it coming from people who previously made the trip by walking, biking or driving? Or are they making trips that they just never made before?"

The Daily News, Post, amNY, and Gothamist all covered the big announcement.

Reporting by Dave Colon

In other news:

  • The city's "complete streets" redesign of Third Avenue from 59th Street to 96th Street is officially happening, DOT said. The project will add protected bike lanes, bus lanes, and new delivery worker hubs to the extra-wide strip that once hosted the Third Avenue Elevated subway. (Daily News, Patch, DOT via Twitter)
  • From Streetsblog USA: GOP eyes massive cuts to Amtrak.
  • A 61-year-old woman died after being struck by the driver of a SUV taxi. (Daily News, News12)
  • New competition for the curb: Greyhound, which is closing bus terminals across the country. (Governing)
  • Can the MTA's latest turnstile modification reduce fare evasion? (Daily News, Gothamist)
  • Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch has Streetsblog read to her in this new Q&A about the city's anti-trash efforts. (New York Magazine)
  • The MTA board will vote on fare hikes on Wednesday. (NY1)
  • State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — who killed legislation this year to give New York City "home rule" over its speed limits — is in Denmark discussing renewable energy. We hope he's also asking about traffic enforcement. (Hint: the Danes have a lot of speed cameras.)

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