Select Bus route starting on Staten Island on Sunday
Some Staten Island bus riders may not pay the fare, but they are get a quicker ride to work starting this weekend, officials said Thursday.
A new Select Bus route, scheduled to make its first trip on Sunday, will run along Hylan Boulevard and is expected to speed up travel between the Staten Island Mall and Bay Ridge by about 18%, MTA and city officials said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said riders' "frustratingly slow" commute will become "significantly faster and more pleasurable."
MTA chief Joe Lhota estimated the new route "is going to save anywhere from 15-20 minutes off of every trip."
It is the MTA's fourth Select Bus route; the agency has others on Fordham Road in the Bronx and along First and Second Avenues and across 34th Street in Manhattan.
The MTA says it can speed up bus trips by cutting the number of stops on the S79 SBS route from 80 to 22, adding a dedicated bus lane and tweaking traffic lights. Unlike other Select Bus routes, the MTA will not require passengers to get a ticket before boarding.
Eagle team officers, dedicated to enforcing fare collection, may be sent to inspect the route if the MTA notices abnormally high fare evasion.
The MTA has said previously that it loses about $100 million from subway and bus fare evasion, particularly in Staten Island.
Other SBS routes are being considered on Nostrand Ave in Brooklyn and going to and from LaGuardia Airport.