Plan Aims To Improve M15 Bus Service

M15 Select at 1st AveLaura Kuhn After major changes last month along the M15 bus route, MTA officials are putting new measures in place this week to improve efficiency along the line.

Last week, the MTA entered the second phase of service changes to the M15 select bus line. The move came about two weeks after changes to the First and Second Avenue express line that require riders to purchase their tickets before climbing aboard.

At first, reactions to the changes ranged from skepticism to downright anger but now the MTA is making adjustments that it believes will improve service. “Initially there was definitely confusion,” said Kevin Ortiz, spokesman for the MTA. “But we’ve had personnel to show riders how to use the machines.”

This week the MTA shifts its focus from educating riders about the new line to improving its efficiency. While cutting the number of employees helping riders at individual stations, the MTA has added three buses to its fleet of about 40 on the line. Additionally it installed an undisclosed number of cameras that will issue traffic tickets through the mail to cars and other vehicles parked in the bus-only lanes along First and Second Avenues.

The MTA reported a decrease in complaints as riders grow more comfortable with the changes. Customers echo this sentiment as well.

“I was just texting my wife saying its amazing,” said Matthew Nguyen, a Citigroup employee, after climbing off the bus last week. “At first it was confusing but it’s pretty easy now. It’s so quick.”

Dorrie Figliozzi, a retired teacher, standing at 14th Street and First Avenue, agreed. “My experience has been positive. It’s very easy. I missed one earlier and two minutes later I caught the next one. I looked down the street and there were three right together.”

Certainly not all riders are satisfied. Even those who understand how the machines operate have trouble with the new system. Some complain purchasing the ticket takes too long.

“He was right here and he left,” said Lydia Camara, a dental assistant and NYU graduate student, of one of the bus’ drivers who pulled away as she was purchasing her ticket at 15th Street and First Avenue.

Still, the MTA considers the new system a success, particularly because of its increased efficiency. According to Mr. Ortiz, the camera monitoring and bus lanes have shaved 15 minutes off the total ride time, cutting the ride from 125th Street to South Ferry Station down to 80 minutes.