When they first hit Second Avenue, the Select Bus Service buses were plagued with ticketing problems and slow service. It was so bad that the city had to add extra buses along the line, which made all the money they put into the new SBS buses sound like a waste. Mayor Bloomberg defended the project in October, saying, "I'm sure you'll write a big exposé that it's a total failure, and six months from now, you will never write the story that it's the success that it's going to be." Well Bloomberg, this post is for you, because the MTA seems to have the SBS working smoothly.
According to MTA data, M15 service from East Harlem to South Ferry has been cut by 12 to 16 minutes. The MTA attributes the speed to riders figuring out how to use the sidewalk ticket machines, as well as dedicated bus lanes and the harsh fines for those who drive in them. NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast told the Daily News, "The success of these first [Select Bus] corridors in reducing travel times shows the enormous potential that exists if we can put ideas into play across the city." They also acknowledge the trips would be even faster without all that pesky Second Avenue Subway work.
Police have also ticketed 15,200 violators of the bus-only lanes and towed 156 cars since October, some based on footage taken from cameras installed along the avenues. Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said a wireless system for extending green lights for buses will go online later this year.