When I missed my stop on the 1st Ave M15 bus yesterday, I knew it was time to figure out what was going on. It’s all about the new MetroCard Fare Collector boxes on the sidewalk at the M15 Limited Bus Stops on 1st & 2nd Aves, and the buses labeled ‘Select Bus Service’ (they have flashing blue lights at the front).
Welcome to the new M15 Select Bus Service (instead of the M15 Limited), which is supposed to give us a 20% increase in speed during rush hour. What’s different?
You now need to pay before boarding at the machine, get a receipt, and show it if you’re asked. You can’t buy or refill your MetroCard at the machine, but you can use the smallest machine to buy a ticket with coins. If you need to transfer, you’ll use your MetroCard as usual on the second bus.
What do we think of this new process? So far, we’re not sure.
Being able to board via any door certainly makes boarding much faster, and the new dedicated bus lanes between Houston St and 125st give much faster service. Anyone driving in these lanes (except to make a right turn or drop off/pick up a passenger) from 7 – 10am and 2 – 7pm M-F will get a $115 – $150 ticket. Either the NYPD or cameras will catch you.
It’s not so ‘green’ — we’re not so sure that a city trying to be ‘green’ is doing the right thing by issuing all these little paper receipts. With approximately 2.5 million bus rides each day, and 53,000 rides on the M15 routes, we’re assuming 20% use the new Select Bus — that amounts to 10,600 little pieces of paper every day.
Will NYC lose money? — obviously, this is an honor system and can be enforced only if a Fare Inspector is walking up and down the bus to check people’s receipts.
The driver won’t wait — for those of us who run for the bus because we know we can rely on the queue of people waiting to board to take a few minutes, that ends now. The queue won’t be there and you’ll need to spend 6 seconds pre-paying at the machine, so be prepared for the bus to pull away as you run up.
We also noticed the 72nd St on 1st Ave has been eliminated. We know there are more eliminated stops, but we can’t find the information anywhere on the MTA site. If you know, let us know.