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MTA Regional Bus Operations
Slogan Improving...non-stop.
Parent Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Founded May 7, 2008[1]
Headquarters 2 Broadway, New York, NY 10004-2207
Locale New York metropolitan area
Service area New York City
Service type Local, limited-stop, bus rapid transit, and express bus service

Fleet 5,701
Fuel type


Chief executive Carmen Bianco (NYCT)
Darryl Irick (MTA Bus)


The history of the MTA's bus operations generally follows the history of the New York City Transit Authority, which was created in 1953 by the State of New York to take over operations then operated by the New York City Board of Transportation. The current system came into being in the mid-2000s following the MTA's assumption of services previously operated by private carriers under contract to the New York City Department of Transportation, the successor to the Board of Transportation. This brought almost all bus transportation in New York City under its control.[2] Completed in 2006,[3] the MTA then moved to streamline its operations through consolidation of management function. To that effect, RBO was officially created in May 2008, with the president of what was then New York City Transit's Department of Buses, Joseph J. Smith, named to lead the consolidated bus operations.[1] MTA Regional Bus also included the MTA Long Island Bus division until January 2012, when its services were transferred to a private operator by Nassau County (see below for more information).

Currently, many RBO's operational changes have been at the management level, with the creation of a unified command center and consolidation of management for all bus operations, with the aim of reducing redundancies in the agency. Other changes have included eliminating the MTA Bus call center, folding it into that of New York City Transit, and the unification of the fare policy for all of the MTA's services.

Brands and service area

Regional Bus stations is currently only used in official documentation, and not publicly as a brand. The current public brands are listed below:

  • MTA New York City Bus – most routes within the City of New York, operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and subsidiary Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority.
  • MTA Bus – service previously controlled by the New York City Department of Transportation and operated by seven companies at the time of takeover, concentrated in Queens, with some routes in Brooklyn, and most express service from Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx to Manhattan. The seven former companies were, Command Bus Company Inc., Green Bus Lines Inc., Jamaica Buses Inc., Liberty Lines Express Inc., New York Bus Service Co., Queens Surface Corp., and Triboro Coach Corp.

The current scheme (except for bus rapid transit service are wrapped with a light blue-and-white wrap below the windows.

Access-A-Ride paratransit services are provided by various independent contractors, using vehicles owned by the MTA.

In addition, MTA Regional Bus Operations operated bus and paratransit service in Nassau County under the name Long Island Bus until December 31, 2011. This service was operated by the MTA under an agreement with Nassau County, who owned its facilities and equipment. In 2011, the MTA asked Nassau County to provide more funding for Long Island Bus than they were at the time. The county refused to provide additional funding, and the MTA voted to end operation of the system at the end of 2011. The county then decided to hire Veolia Transportation, a private transportation company, to operate the system in place of the MTA beginning in 2012.

History of MTA New York City Bus

City involvement with surface transit in the city began in September 1919, when Mayor John Francis Hylan, through the New York City Department of Plant and Structures, organized private entrepreneurs to operate "emergency" buses to replace four abandoned storage battery streetcar lines: the Madison Street Line, Spring and Delancey Streets Line, Avenue C Line, and Sixth Avenue Ferry Line.[4] Many routes were soon added, replacing lines such as the Brooklyn and North River Line (trolleys)[5] and Queens Bus Lines (buses),[6] and the DP&S also began operating trolleys in Staten Island to replace the Staten Island Midland Railway's system.[7][8] Eventually all of these routes were transferred to private management.

Another city acquisition was the Bridge Operating Company, which ran the Williamsburg Bridge Local trolley, acquired in 1921 by the DP&S.[9] Unlike the other lines, this one remained city-operated, and was replaced by the B39 bus route on December 5, 1948, by then transferred to the New York City Board of Transportation.[10]

On February 23, 1947, the Board of Transportation took over the Staten Island bus network of the Isle Transportation Company. Further acquisitions were made on March 30, 1947, with the North Shore Bus Company in Queens, and September 24, 1948, with the East Side Omnibus Corporation and Comprehensive Omnibus Corporation in Manhattan. With the city takeover of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation's surface subsidiary, the Brooklyn and Queens Transit Corporation, on June 2, 1940,[11] the city gained a large network of trolley and bus lines, covering all of Brooklyn and portions of Queens.[12] The final Brooklyn trolleys were the Church Avenue Line and McDonald Avenue Line, discontinued on October 31, 1956,[13] though the privately operated (by the Queensboro Bridge Railway) Queensboro Bridge Local remained until 1957.[14][15][16]

Thus, in the late 1950s, the city operated all local service in Staten Island and Brooklyn, about half the local service in Queens, and several routes in Manhattan. Several private companies operated buses in Queens, and the Avenue B and East Broadway Transit Company operated a small Manhattan system, but by far the largest system was the Fifth Avenue Coach Company and Surface Transit, which operated almost all Manhattan routes and all Bronx routes, plus two into Queens (15 Fifth Avenue - Jackson Heights and TB Triborough Bridge) and one within Queens (16 Elmhurst Crosstown). After a strike in 1962, the city took over operations. To avoid legal issues, a new agency, the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA) was formed to operate the former Fifth Avenue Coach Lines and Surface Transit, Inc. routes. The final acquisition was in 1980, when MaBSTOA took over the Avenue B and East Broadway's routes, using MaBSTOA equipment with Avenue B red route roll signs (NYCTA acquired the 13 Grumman Flxibles that had been assigned to Avenue B and placed them in NYCTA service). Public takeover of the remaining Queens buses, as well as most express routes, was implemented in 2005 and 2006 by the new MTA Bus Company.[17] In 2008, the bus operations of New York City Transit and MTA Bus Company (as well as the now former Long Island Bus division) were merged into a new regional operation, MTA Regional Bus Operations. The New York City Bus brand continues to be used.

History of MTA Bus

MTA Bus Company was established in late 2004 to take over privately operated bus routes operated under contract to the NYCDOT.[18][19] The routes were taken over on a staggered schedule, beginning with Liberty Lines Express in January 2005 and ending with Triboro Coach Corp. in February 2006.

MTA Bus started to operate the former Liberty Lines Express bus routes on January 3, 2005, Queens Surface Corporation bus routes on February 27, 2005, New York Bus Service bus routes on July 1, 2005, Command Bus Company bus routes on December 5, 2005, Green Bus Lines bus routes on January 9, 2006, and Jamaica Buses bus routes on January 30, 2006. Triboro Coach Corporation, the final remaining company, ceased operating and its routes have been operated by MTA Bus since February 20, 2006.[20]

Currently, the only NYCDOT subsidized lines not consolidated into MTA Bus are those run by Atlantic Express and were formerly run by Academy Bus (Commuter Coach) until 2001.[21] Although the X23, and X24 routes were absorbed by Atlantic Express, the X17J, X21, X22, and X30 routes were absorbed by the New York City Transit Authority. NYCT discontinued service on the X21 months after the takeover.[22] Recently, NYS Assemblyman Lou Tobacco and NYS Senator Andrew Lanza, along with U.S. Congressman Michael E. McMahon and NYC Councilmen Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo have asked the MTA to look into the possible consolidation of the remainder of the NYCDOT routes.[23] In Brooklyn, a company called Private Transportation operates the B110 route; this is franchised but not subsidized by NYCDOT. Atlantic Express also ran the AE7 express route from Travis, Staten Island and Tottenville, Staten Island in the same manner as the Private Transportation B110 local route. Citing low ridership and increased costs, Atlantic Express canceled the AE7 service on December 31, 2010. Councilmen Ignizio and Oddo as well as Congressman Michael G. Grimm have called on the MTA to revamp that route also.[24]

In 2008, the bus operations of MTA Bus Company and New York City Transit (as well as the now former Long Island Bus division) were merged into a new regional operation, MTA Regional Bus Operations. The MTA Bus brand continues to be used.[25]


MTA Regional Bus routes are spread out across New York City. However, some bus routes may also operate to areas beyond city limits. The Q5 and Q85 routes cross the Nassau County border to go to the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream. The Q2 and Q110 routes leave Queens as they run along Hempstead Turnpike and onto the Cross Island Parkway, and Belmont Racetrack in Elmont, where they re-enter the city. The Q46 route runs along Lakeville Road in Lake Success, Nassau County upon entering Long Island Jewish Medical Center. During peak hours, select Q111 buses run to Cedarhurst in Nassau County. The Bx16 route runs into Westchester County for two blocks in Mount Vernon. The Bx7 and Bx10 buses both make their last stops at the Bronx-Westchester border. BxM3 express buses leave the city as they operate to Getty Square in Yonkers. The S89 is the only route to have a stop outside state borders, terminating at the 34th Street Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Bayonne, New Jersey. Some Staten Island express routes run via New Jersey, but do not stop in the state.

New York City Transit bus routes are labeled with a number and a prefix identifying the primary borough (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, and S for Staten Island). Express buses use the letter X rather than a borough label. Lettered suffixes can be used to designate branches or variants. MTA Bus Company bus routes follow this scheme as well, but combines prefixes for inter-borough express routes (e.g. a route traveling between Manhattan and the Bronx is labeled BxM# and a route traveling between Manhattan and Queens is labeled QM#).

Local and limited-stop service

Local and limited-stop buses provide service within a borough, or in some cases across two. While local buses make all stops along a route, limited-stop buses only make stops at busy transfer points, points of interest, and heavily used roadways. Limited stop service was first attempted with the M4 bus during rush hours in 1973, then expanded to other routes from there. The usual setup is that limited stop service runs the full route, while local services run only in the limited stop area, and the limited stop buses run local at the tail ends of the route not served by locals, similar to the operation of some subway services and the Staten Island Railway.

The following MTA Regional Bus routes run limited stop service (for non-Staten Island routes, where there is a route numbering system, bold indicates no corresponding local service on the limited-stop route):

  • Bronx: Bx1, Bx15, and Bx36[26]
  • Brooklyn: B6, B35, B38, B41, B44, B46, B49, B82, and B103
  • Manhattan: M1, M2, M4, M5, M98 and M101
  • Queens: Q4, Q5, Q6, Q10, Q17, Q25, Q27, Q36, Q43, Q44, Q46, Q50, Q52, Q53, Q58, Q65, Q70, Q83, Q85, Q100 and Q113
  • Staten Island: S81, S84, S86, S89, S90, S91, S92, S93, S94, S96 and S98

Limited-Stop buses flash LIMITED on the destination sign and a few have a Limited sign in the windshield.

Select Bus Service

Main article: Select Bus Service

Select Bus Service or +SBS, the brand name for MTA bus rapid transit service, is a variant of Limited-Stop bus service that requires fare payment to be made before boarding the bus, at fare payment machines in shelters at designated "stations" (such a shelter is shown to the left). Receipts given for payment of fare are "proof-of-payment" that must be shown to fare enforcement upon request. In the event of the fare machine failing to issue a receipt, the bus operator must be notified of the problem. The implementation of this new service is paired with new lane markings and traffic signs that reserve a lane for buses only between 7AM and 7PM.[27]

SBS service began on the Bx12 207th Street Crosstown/Fordham Road/Pelham Parkway line in the Bronx on June 28, 2008. The M15 First/Second Avenues line saw SBS implementation in Manhattan on October 10, 2010. The M34 / M34A routes began service on November 13, 2011, after replacing the identical local service along 34th Street.[28] The S79 began SBS on September 2, 2012, completely replacing the local service of the same designation yet with payment on board. The Bx41 Webster Avenue line has replaced limited stop service with SBS on June 30, 2013. The B44 Nostrand Avenue line is scheduled to see implementation in the borough of Brooklyn in late 2013. Study and outreach for implementation of SBS on the M60 is also currently underway.[29]

Buses used in this service are identifiable with "stations" be similar to those pictured to the right and also have a "+selectbusservice" wrap identifying them as such buses. Locations of stops (and in some cases, the local bus stops) were shifted or eliminated where possible to prevent mixing of local bus customers. SBS is offered in conjunction with the New York City and New York State Department of Transportation.[30][31]

Express service

Express bus service is generally geared towards peak hour commuters from the outer boroughs and neighboring suburbs that lacks rail or subway services to and from Midtown Manhattan or Lower Manhattan. Some routes also provide significant off-peak service from early morning to late evening, every day (notably the X10, X17, X27, BxM1/2, BxM3, BxM4, BxM6, BxM7, BxM8, BxM9, BxM10, BxM11, QM2, QM4 and QM5/6; the X1 runs 24 hours a day). 45-foot MCI and Prevost over-the-road coaches are used for express service.

Demand response

In addition to a 100% accessible bus fleet, New York City Transit also provides paratransit services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 under the Access-A-Ride brand, for customers who cannot use regular bus or subway service servicing all five boroughs of New York City at all times.[32] This system was acquired from the NYC Department of Transportation in 1993.

Stop signage

Within the service area, the color of the route on a bus stop sign indicates the type of service run. Routes are branded on bus stop signs, which are normally located every 2-3 blocks apart in most cases.

All bus stops are in effect at all times unless otherwise indicated by signage.

Sign color Type of service
  • MTA local bus service.
  • Bee-Line Bus System local bus stops (pickup only except along Boston Road, Mundy Lane, and through Pelham Bay Park, where there are pick-up and drop-off).
  • Nassau Inter-County Express local bus stops within New York City limits (pickup only except in Far Rockaway, along Jericho Tpke/Jamaica Avenue (from 225th St to Little Neck Pkwy) and Hook Creek Blvd).
  • MTA limited-stop bus service.
  • MTA express bus service (pickup to Manhattan, drop-off from Manhattan only).
  • B110 service in Brooklyn (privately operated).
  • Service operates late nights only.
  • MTA Select Bus Service (fare payment required before boarding, except the S79 +Select Bus Service+ as fares are paid onboard).
  • Special school service (stopping at that stop only when New York City public schools are in session, usually at the end of the school day).
  • Private tour bus company bus stop.

Late night Request-A-Stop

Between 10:00 PM (22:00) and 5:00 AM (05:00), "Request-a-Stop" service is available. The bus operator may discharge passengers at a location along the route that is not a bus stop, as long as it is considered safe. If the location is not "safe", the bus operator will discharge passengers at the nearest safe location.[33] Request-A-Stop is not available on Select Bus Service, Limited-Stop routes, or overnight bus shuttles.


The fleet consists of over 5,900 buses of various types and models for fixed-route service, and over 2,000 vans and cabs for ADA paratransit service, providing service in New York City, southwestern Nassau County, and the city of Yonkers. All vehicles (except for paratransit cabs) are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.[34][35]

Within the current fleet are over 1,600 diesel-electric buses and over 900 buses powered by compressed natural gas. Fixed-route buses are dispatched from 28 garages (20 New York City Bus and 8 MTA Bus) and one annex in New York City.

By fleet size, the MTA Regional Bus (New York City Bus and MTA Bus) fleet is the fourth largest in the United States and Canada (and the largest public transit fleet), behind three school bus operators: First Student, Durham School Services, and Student Transportation, Incorporated.


Dollar bills and half-dollar coins are not accepted on fixed-route buses or Select Bus Service payment stations, nor are they accepted on buses of the Bee-Line Bus System (Bee-Line) in Westchester County or the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) in Nassau County. All fares are in US dollars, and the following fare policy applies to all New York City Transit, MTA Bus, NICE, and Bee-Line (except for the BxM4C) buses.

Local, Limited-Stop, and Select Bus Service
(transfer available upon request)
Express Bus Service
(New York City Bus and MTA Bus)
Student fare Access-A-Ride
(New York City paratransit)
Full fare Reduced fare Full fare Reduced-fare
(off-peak only)
Student Free MetroCard
(City of New York only)
Student Half Fare MetroCard
(City of New York only)
($2.75 for a Single-Ride ticket)
$1.25 $6.00 $3.00 Free $1.25 $2.50
Transfer rules:
  • All transfers are good for 2 hours.
    • EXCEPTION: A three-hour transfer window applies from transfers from any subway station to the Q22 and Q113 routes of MTA Bus, and the N31, N32, and N33 routes of the Nassau Inter-County Express.
  • MetroCard transfers are good for one connecting trip on any other local or express bus service, New York City Subway, or Bee-Line buses (restrictions apply).
    • EXCEPTIONS: Two transfers are available with MetroCard for the following transfers. The transfers must be made in order or in reverse order, and the 2-hour rule applies.
      1. Between bus routes crossing the Staten Island Railway south of the Staten Island Expressway, the Staten Island Railway through St. George Ferry Terminal, and then any MTA local bus or subway service below Chambers Street in lower Manhattan.
      2. Between the B61, B62, and any bus route connecting with either the B61 or the B62.
      3. Between the B70, S53, and any bus route connecting with the S53.
      4. Between the Q22, Q35, and the 2 5 trains at the Flatbush Avenue – Brooklyn College station.
      5. Between the Q22, Q52 Limited or Q53 Limited, and the A train at the Rockaway Boulevard station.
  • Transfers with coins are good for use on one connecting local bus route.

Other notes:

  • Peak travel periods for express buses are 6:00 AM–10:00 AM and 3:00 PM–7:00 PM, Monday through Friday when buses are on a weekday schedule.

See also


External links

  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
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