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Mayor: Bus improvements, more ferry service coming to Bronx in 2019

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NEW YORK -

It's been a week of big announcements from Mayor Bill de Blasio, including plans for universal health care and paid time off -- all leading up to his State of the City address on Thursday.

Moving the Bronx forward and making New York City fairer were among the goals outline by de Blasio in his sixth annual address.

In an effort to speed up bus service, which the MTA reports saw almost 3.5 million fewer riders in 2017 compared to the year before, de Blasio pledged to install between 10 and 15 miles of bus lanes each year citywide. Seven NYPD tow teams will be deployed, dedicated entirely to protecting those lanes.

The number of intersections where buses get green-light priority will double and expand to 300 intersections annually. The mayor says those efforts will start this year in the Bronx, with the goal to increase bus speeds by 25 percent by 2020.

For those who opt for the ferry, the mayor says the Soundview route will be extended. A new stop will be added at Ferry Point, with other improvements to the parking lot.

De Blasio says all kindergartners and first-graders will get free eye exams and prescription glasses. Universal pre-K will also roll out in districts 8 and 9 in the borough. The mayor promised to reverse what he called a yearslong trend of short-changing Bronx schools.

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