Did you know adding an extra subway stop to New York City's 7 train is going to cost $2 billion? In the middle of this big ol' recession, that's a big reason why transit geeks are freaking out about buses
- they can be orders of magnitude cheaper than subways. It turns out in New York City (home of America's slowest buses at an average 7.5 MPH) they're jamming out on some serious tech to dispel the traditional associations commuters have with above-ground mass transit. The MTA
's new Select Bus Service offers street-based payment kiosks (1 in the image above), low-riding rear entrances for quicker boarding (2), a "signal prioritization" system that will hold the light green for fast buses (3), and a separate terra cotta-colored lane with constant camera surveillance to keep stray cars and trucks out of the way (4). We've seen cabbies not get scared of things more serious things than painted lanes - personally, we'd install piranha-infested moats to protect our Select Bus System - but we'll have to trust the MTA on that one.
The faster, funner new buses are already showing up in the Bronx, and If they're able to get through all the red tape associated with making things easier and more efficient for everybody, you can expect to see them on First and Second Avenues this fall and on 34th Street in 2012... provided we make it through the apocalypse.