Manhattan bus riders will now be able to ride the cross-town M116 bus route for free during a six-to-twelve month period, beginning on September 24th.
The new development is part of a $15 million dollar MTA pilot championed by Governor Kathy Hochul, in an attempt to expand access to public transportation across the city with the hope of “improving transit equity to better serve all New Yorkers.”
Hochul said she believes that “the MTA is the lifeblood of New York City” and is “proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made in returning ridership to pre-pandemic levels.”
The M116 route runs from W. 106 St. & Broadway to E. 120th St. & Pleasant Ave. It has stops at legacy Manhattan institutions such as St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University, and is linked to the 1, 2, 3, 6, B, and C subway stations. According to the MTA, the routes were selected based on criteria such as service adequacy, “equity for low-income and disadvantaged communities,” and access to employment.
MTA Chair Janno Lieber said that “[The MTA has] championed innovation and creative thinking across the transportation network and looks forward to seeing how New Yorkers respond to this pilot program. I want to thank Governor Hochul and the State Legislature for providing funding that makes it possible to launch this limited experiment.”
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said that making the M116 fare free “will be a welcome relief to the New Yorkers struggling to stretch every dollar.”