One of Brooklyn’s slowest buses may soon become its fastest.
Select Bus Service, of 34th Street fame, is coming to the B44 line, a 9.3 mile route connecting Williamsburg with Sheepshead Bay through Central Brooklyn. The buses are expected to hit the streets next fall.
This is the first Brooklyn line to get SBS, which in Manhattan and the Bronx have increased speeds by as much as 20 percent, according to city officials.
Changes will include passengers paying at bus stops before they get on, dedicated bus lanes, and double-length buses with three doors and articulation in the center for turning corners. The buses will also lower to the ground to make it easier for riders to get on and off.
In addition, the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza will be renovated and Nostrand and Rogers avenues will be repaved and will get 12 “bus bulbs,” sidewalk cut-outs to keep buses out of traffic during loading and unloading.
At signing ceremony Tuesday, officials noted that Superstorm Sandy highlighted the importance of buses, which came back in service a day before any subway line and were the only connection between the outer boroughs and Manhattan for several days.
The project will be funded in full through a $28 million federal grant—the largest of its kind for a single New York City project.
Currently there are four Select Bus Service lines. Besides along 34th Street, the speedy buses also run along First and Second avenues in Manhattan, Fordham Road in the Bronx and Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. SBS routs are also planned from the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens to LaGuardia Airport.
The B44 line serves 39,000 riders daily, going through some of the densest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, according to the NYC DOT.