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Select Bus Service

What Is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

Bus Rapid Transit or BRT is "a flexible, integrated, high performance transit system with a quality image and a strong identity." BRT combines the speed, reliability and amenities of rail-based rapid transit systems with the flexibility of buses. An increasing number of BRT systems are being implemented across the U.S. and the world, but because of BRT's flexibility, each BRT application is planned and designed to meet the specific needs and characteristics of its particular market. BRT systems typically incorporate the following package of components appropriate to the markets they serve and the physical environment. Irrespective of how these elements are put together, all BRT systems emphasize speed, reliability and identity. In New York City our BRT system is called Select Bus Service (SBS).

Photo of Bus
High Capacity Vehicles
Photo of SBS fare collection systems
Improved, Faster Fare Collection
Photo of SBS Stations
Attractive Stations
Photo of Bus Lane
Highly Visible Bus Lanes

New York City Select Bus Service (SBS) will have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Stations

    Farther apart than local bus stops, SBS stations generally include architecturally designed shelters. They are well-lit, safe and secure, have a unique identity, and are easily accessible to pedestrians and connecting bus services.

  • Bus Lanes

    BRT can operate in a wide variety of physical and operating environments however, dedicated lanes or transitways are preferred. Design parameters include the ability to safely support rapid, reliable service, with convenient boarding and alighting.

  • Range of Bus Lanes

    Photo of Bronx Curb Bus Lane
    Curb Bus Lane, Fordham Road Bronx
    Photo of First/Second Ave SBS
    Offset Bus Lane, First/Second Aves, Manhattan
    Photo of Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn
    Offset Bus Lane, Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn (coming in 2013)
  • Service Plan

    SBS systems have frequent, all day service. The routes are direct and easy to understand, maximizing directness and minimizing transfers. SBS services are integrated with, not a replacement for, existing bus and subway services.

    Graph depicting comparison of local, limited stop, and SBS services

  • Intelligent Transportation Systems

    Advanced communications and data processing technologies are being developed to help SBS vehicles:

    • receive priority at traffic signals;
    • provide real time bus arrival information at stations;
    • provide next stop passenger information on vehicles;
    • help collect fares more efficiently;
    • provide on-board security cameras, and;
    • provide cameras for bus lane enforcement

    These features will help SBS systems' serve bus customers faster, more reliably and attract new riders from cars and vans.

    MTA Bus Time screenshot

  • System Identity and Image

    SBS has a distinct image and identity to inform customers where and how it operates. This identity is conveyed through vehicles, signs, stations, graphics and bus ways that are clearly and uniquely marked

    Graphics & Icons

MTA New York City Transit New York City Department of Transportation
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