The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and U.S. Rep. Max Rose (D-NY-11) announced that a total of 77 new state-of-the-art buses will be put into service on Staten Island this year as the MTA works to modernize bus service with new vehicles and a new contactless fare payment system that speeds entry and allows all-door boarding. The new Nova Bus-built LFS model buses are equipped with modern customer amenities such as USB charging ports, Wi-Fi and digital screens and safety technology such as a pedestrian turn warning system and cameras. They replace Orion Hybrid buses from 2009 currently in service on Staten Island and will be used on routes operating out of the Yukon Bus Depot, which includes S79 Select Bus Service. Additionally, the MTA is also in the process of procuring 50 new coach (express) buses that will be put into Staten Island express bus service in 2021.
“Our Staten Island customers are amongst our most vocal and dedicated customers because they rely on our buses far more than riders in other boroughs, which means we absolutely must get bus service right on Staten Island,” said MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford. “We still have work to do, but the future of public transit is very bright on Staten Island thanks to this new fleet of buses and our myriad work to add new service where possible and enhance existing options.”
Of the 77 new buses, which are standard 40-foot-long vehicles used on both local and Select Bus Service routes, 41 have already been delivered. These buses will be delivered with software ready for traffic signal priority technology implementation. These capital investments help make MTA more cost-efficient, as continuing maintenance to retain older buses well past their useful lives are a significant drain to NYC Transit personnel and funding resources.
As part of similar modernization initiatives, the MTA launched a public pilot on May 31 for OMNY, its new contactless fare payment system, to replace the outdated MetroCard technology by 2023. The public pilot included all Staten Island buses, where hundreds of customers are using their own preferred contactless fare payment method to pay fares and speed their entry onto buses without needing to buy a MetroCard or find exact change. Within the first week of the pilot, Staten Island customers using OMNY have far exceeded initial estimates of 800 to 1,500 taps per week.