New Select Bus service for Hillside Ave. delayed

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The debut of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's long-promised super-express buses to Queens may be years off, but Bronx straphangers have been flocking to the new pay-before-boarding buses in their first week of operation.

Select Bus service is scheduled for Hillside Avenue in Queens, but transit officials say it now could be years away before the service is launched.

Joseph Smith, chief of New York City Transit Authority buses, said more than 5,000 extra riders have been taking the Bx12 line since it was converted from limited bus status to a new super express status in July.

The new buses are a form of the long-heralded Bus Rapid Transit, which the transit authority calls Select Bus.

The buses operate on dedicated lanes from which other vehicles are banned. Straphangers pay before boarding after getting tickets from a curbside machine. Buses are equipped with transponders that can prolong a green traffic light until the buses pass so they do not waste time stopping at a traffic signal.

Passengers are encouraged to board quickly through both the front and rear doors. Passengers do not show tickets as they enter, but must be prepared to provide proof they have paid if a police offer or MTA employee challenges them. The fine for fare evasion was recently increased to $100.

Transit officials said more than 600 such fare-beating citations on the Bx12 line were issued since the service began July 29.

The route of the Bx12 Select Service runs from 207th Street in Manhattan along Fordham Road and Pelham Parkway.

Ted Orosz, the Select Bus system manager, said the transit authority had planned to bring the new buses to First and Second avenues in Manhattan in 2009, but it will be delayed until 2010.

One reason for the delay is that the MTA is short of the double-length buses used on the Select routes.

Los Angeles began what it calls Metro Rapid bus service in 2000 and now has 26 such routes.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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