Select bus service has officially launched in Brooklyn, with the B44 between Williamsburg and Sheepshead Bay revamped with a dedicated bus lane, off-board fare collection, bus bulbs (sidewalk extensions into the street that keep bus shelters and ticket machines from disrupting pedestrian traffic) as well as fewer stops, all of which combine to shave as much as 20 percent off of commuting times.
The bus will also run along Nostrand and Rogers avenues, a transition from its time as the B44 Limited, when it ran along New York Avenue. The MTA has some other items of interest:
B44 SBS buses will make stops approximately every 1/2 mile. Weekday service will operate between 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM southbound and between 5:00 AM and 11:00 PM northbound. Local B44 bus service will continue to operate 24 hours a day. The northbound B44 SBS will be rerouted from New York Avenue to Rogers Avenue and Bedford Avenue between Flatbush Avenue (the Junction) and Fulton Street. The northbound Local B44 will continue to operate on New York Avenue. All SBS customers must pay their fare before they board at ticket vending machines at the bus stop. Generally the machines will be next to the bus shelter. There will be at least two machines that accept MetroCards and one machine that accepts coin payments. The MetroCard machines issue and accept transfers just as if one used a farebox on a conventional bus route.
The service is the first of its kind in Brooklyn, and the sixth in the city. It was financed by a $28 million grant from the U.S. DOT, with matching funds from the state, city and MTA.
Since you can't make everyone happy, Councilman Jumaane Williams has already spoken out against the upgrade, saying that removing some stops has made life harder for many riders. "What happens to places like this, that had a limited stop and no longer have that stop?" he asked NY1, which did not answer. Passengers have also complained in the past about broken ticketing machines, which can result in pricey summonses.
Will the day ever come when the city achieves perfect transit harmony? A system that's efficient and doesn't piss anyone off? No. In the immortal words of one astute wit—regarding a different transportation uproar—"it wouldn't be New York."