Legislators propose $90 million plan to boost New York City bus service ahead of congestion pricing

In anticipation of the impending congestion pricing in New York City, top legislators have put forth an initiative aimed at enhancing city bus ridership and improving service. With a proposed budget of $90 million, the plan seeks to address transit needs before congestion pricing takes effect.
"We need more buses, we need rapid buses, we need more public transit," said Assembly Member Tony Simone at a news conference Thursday.
Standing in proximity to the new tolling infrastructure on Central Park West and 61st Street, Simone, alongside other elected officials, like state Sen. Gianaris unveiled the "Get Congestion Right Plan," asserting that it would secure adequate funding for public transit before congestion pricing is implemented.
“In London when they implemented congestion pricing they increased bus service by 17%, in Stockholm they increased bus service there as well, we’ve spoken with the MTA we know what we are proposing is money that can be absorbed,” said Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani.
Mamdani, who is spearheading the legislation, said the proposal includes a $90 million allocation in the state budget, with $45 million designated for improved bus services and an equal amount for expanding a fare-free bus pilot.
Several officials noted the city’s transit service is the slowest in the country. MTA CEO Janno Lieber echoed concerns, revealing that bus speeds in the city have decreased by 30% or more over the years. He emphasized the urgency to address congestion and slow bus lanes.
“Busses are moving like 7 miles per hour in the central business district; this is not a viable transportation option for people. They can walk faster,” said Lieber.
Lieber welcomed the proposed plan and affirmed the MTA's commitment to collaborate with stakeholders including the Mayor Adams to improve transportation efficiency. Despite pending congestion pricing lawsuits, Lieber remains optimistic about congestion pricing moving forward.
“The good news was yesterday the judge in New Jersey set an aggressive schedule so it will be resolved i believe before the end of May and we will see the benefits of congestion pricing hopefully this summer,” said Lieber.