The MTA is mulling big changes to Brooklyn’s buses in an effort to speed up commutes.
Transit officials on Thursday released the agency’s long-awaited proposed redesign of Brooklyn’s bus map, which includes the removal of hundreds of stops and changes to dozens of routes.
The plan would add nine new routes, including a new connection called the B55 between Church Avenue in Kensington and JFK Airport.
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber said eliminating bus stops and straightening routes is necessary to speed up service in the borough with the most bus riders of any in the city.
Roughly 55% of Brooklyn residents don’t have “access to an automobile,” Lieber said during a news conference. “Our riders need a bus system that, news flash, needs to be faster than walking.”
Buses in Brooklyn traveled at an average speed of 7.2 miles per hour in July, the most recent month for which data is available.
MTA officials said giving buses priority on streets would be key to speeding up service in the borough, and said they are working with the city Department of Transportation to install bus lanes and potentially restrict car traffic on 17 busy streets, including Flatbush Avenue and Livingston Street.
The plan is not set in stone, and the MTA plans to hold 18 virtual workshops to receive feedback in the coming months. The plan will not be implemented until at least 2024.
Danny Pearlstein, a spokesperson for the advocacy group Riders Alliance, called the plan “a good start toward more reliable bus service.”
“Riders should weigh in as the process moves forward,” said Pearlstein. He added that Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams should increasing funding for more frequent bus service and dedicated busways.
The proposed redesign follows an overhaul of Staten Island’s express bus network in 2018 and a redesign of the Bronx’s buses that launched earlier this year. MTA officials are currently soliciting feedback for a redesign of Queens’ bus network — and plan to tackle Manhattan’s bus routes next.