The next generation of buses is on its way and it will be well connected for customers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the MTA would add 2,042 state-of-the-art new buses to its transportation fleet over the next five years. The Governor, joined by MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast and MTA New York City Transit President Ronnie Hakim, introduced the next generation vehicles to the public, as well as previewed enhanced amenities like USB charging ports and Wi-Fi. The new buses, which will replace nearly 40 percent of the MTA’s current fleet and represent a $1.3 billion investment of Capital Program resources, will begin hitting streets next month.
“We’re reimagining the MTA to improve services for all New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo. “Today’s world demands connectivity, and we’re meeting that challenge with state-of-the-art buses and a major overhaul of the MTA’s fleet. This upgrade will create a stronger, more convenient and more connected mass transit system for years to come.”
The buses, which will have a distinct new look and feel, are a vital part of the state’s efforts to significantly transform and modernize the MTA, its infrastructure, and its fleet to meet the growing demands of the 21st century. The state is contributing $8.3 billion to help fund the MTA’s $26.1 billion 2015-19 Capital Program.
All new buses will include added amenities designed to dramatically improve the overall customer experience, including the charging ports and free Wi-Fi hotspots on all rides. A new pilot program to install digital information screens on 200 buses will begin this year, providing customers with the most up to date information available on upcoming stops, available transfers, weather, and other information.
The Governor has called on the MTA to accelerate the deployment of new technology on city buses to improve the passenger experience and enhance a system that is more than a century old.
By 2020, 2,042 buses will be equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots. Seventy-five of the first new buses will make their debut in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of this year in Queens, and over the next two years another 70 buses will begin operating in Brooklyn, 209 in the Bronx, and 18 in Manhattan. The remaining new buses will be assigned to various routes throughout the five boroughs from 2018 through 2020. Additionally, the MTA is in the process of upgrading existing busses with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports. By the end of 2017, all express buses will be retrofitted with Wi-Fi and USB charging ports.
“Wireless connectivity is prevalent in the lives of our customers. More and more people are using Wi-Fi enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-book readers on a daily basis and the MTA can accommodate this growing trend by introducing high-speed connectivity and charging ports on-board MTA buses,” MTA Chairman and CEO Tom Prendergast said. “We are fully committed to meeting Governor Cuomo’s challenge head-on to ensure the entire MTA is focused on delivering improvements to the people who rely on us every day.”
“Our new buses will also have a new look and new energy to convey this dynamism as we bring rapid improvements to our customers,” MTA President Hakim said. “More than 2 million people depend on New York City buses on its busiest days, and as the Governor has made explicitly clear, we must enhance our transit system to improve everyone’s daily experience.”
The Wi-Fi will provide a new level of connectivity to New Yorkers, bringing ease and convenience to those working, reading emails, or checking in on their social media accounts without impacting their cellular data plans. The number of USB ports on buses will range from 35-55, depending on the make and model, and will be conveniently located throughout the bus.
Digital information screens will also provide customers with travel information to reduce anxiety about missing stops and better enable customers to plan and arrive at their destinations on time. Buses will have two to three LCD screens mounted inside the bus, displaying everything from automated stop announcements, available transfers at each stop, news, weather and advertising as well as real-time communication from the bus command center.
With nearly 8.7 million travelers per day, these upgrades are part of a robust plan to fully transform the MTA into an innovative, state-of-the-art system with improved customer service and first-class amenities.
The first 75 buses slated to roll out this year are being manufactured by New Flyer Industries, which is planning to open a new facility Western New York in November 2016 to assemble major components on these buses, bringing 30 new jobs to New York.