MTA buses to return to front door boarding and fare collection

Posted: 20 August 2020 |

Front-door boarding will reportedly add up to 40 per cent more space on buses, which aims to enhance a rider’s ability to socially distance.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced that front-door boarding and fare collection on all local and SBS buses will resume on 31 August.

Barriers of chains and vinyl curtains will also be taken down from the middle area of the bus to increase social distancing opportunities. 

As front-door boarding resumes, the MTA is implementing other changes to increase separation between bus operators and riders in order to continue enhancing safety. The changes include blocking off the seat directly behind the bus operator, and moving the white line on the bus floor, which passengers are expected to stand behind, further away from the bus operator. 

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Chains and barriers are to be removed from MTA buses

Polycarbonate sliders designed and assembled inside the MTA, and vinyl curtains to fully protect bus operators, continue to be installed on 4,800 local buses and are expected to be completed in the autumn. Full-length vinyl curtains are also being installed on 1,000 express buses and are expected to be complete this month. The MTA continues to block off the front two rows on express buses to allow distance between riders and the bus operator.  

“Front-door boarding is a crucial step as we continue to support the reopening of New York City by making sure our buses have more space to socially distance and our bus operators are fully protected,” said Sarah Feinberg, Interim President of New York City Transit. “Safety will always be our top priority. I’m grateful to our bus team for working closely with our labor partners to find a safe solution that protects operators and employees.” 

“We have a comprehensive plan to enhance the safety of our operators and customers, who have chosen the bus system over other modes of transportation throughout this pandemic,” said Craig Cipriano, President of MTA Bus Company and Senior Vice President of NYC Transit’s Department of Buses. “We are tremendously grateful to our employees, who are the heroes of this pandemic. As customers continue to choose buses, we now expect them to pay the fare and remain respectful of others by wearing a mask whenever on board.” 

“We are continuing to take aggressive steps to ensure employee and customer safety and it’s at the forefront of everything we do,” added Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer and Acting COO of New York City Transit. “Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, we have distributed more than 6 million masks across agencies. Additionally, infection rates among our heroic workforce have dramatically decreased since the height of the pandemic with fewer than 170 bus employees currently at home under quarantine.” 

“Riders can already pay their fare using OMNY at the rear door on all Manhattan SBS routes now and by year’s end all SBS buses will have rear door enabled contactless readers,” said Al Putre, Chief Revenue Officer of New York City Transit and OMNY Program Executive. “OMNY remains on target for system-wide reader installation by years end. Riders can utilize our contactless fare payment system, a tool that can further facilitate social distancing.”