ALBANY, NY – Together with leaders in government, business and the community, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) announced today the introduction of upstate New York’s first bus rapid transit service – a premium limited stop service connecting downtown Albany and downtown Schenectady – to provide quicker commutes for riders while reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and stimulating economic development in the Capital Region.
CDTA’s BusPlus will officially begin service on Monday, April 4 along Central Avenue, the region’s busiest traffic corridor, seeing a ridership of 3.5 million annually, representing 25% of CDTA’s entire ridership, with 70% of them using the service to get to work. CDTA is offering free rides on its BusPlus service, also known as Route #905, from April 4 through 18 to encourage people to try the new service.
“We’re proud to offer this innovative mobility option for our community that will connect cities, create jobs, stimulate our economy and improve the environment,” said CDTA Chairwoman Denise Figueroa. “BusPlus is made possible through the cooperation and support of our government representatives, transportation, community, and business partners.”
Reducing the number of stops along the 17-mile Route 5 corridor from 90 to 18, and integrating advanced technologies to enhance efficiency, CDTA’s BusPlus mimics rail service but at a more affordable cost. Specialized “queue jumpers” with short sections of dedicated bus lanes will allow buses to move ahead of vehicular traffic, and traffic signal priority systems will extend green lights for buses. Long term, the completed BusPlus is expected to offer up to 10-15% in time savings and increase ridership on Route 5 by 40%.
Sleek silver-and-red buses equipped with modern amenities and low-floor design, coupled with premium stations branded similarly and marketed as the “Fastest Way to Get Ahead,” give CDTA’s BusPlus a distinctive look and brand and underscore efforts to improve speed and reliability on Route 5. Extensive transit infrastructure work occurred on Route 5 to prepare for BusPlus including the development of pedestrian friendly and handicapped and bicycle accessible routes. Shared use park and ride lots were established along Route 5 to provide easier accessibility for commuters. Three new express services will originate from a Park and Ride location travelling directly to the Empire State Plaza. Real-time bus information displays at stations and wireless Internet service both on buses and at stations are some of the future amenities planned.
A grassroots community awareness campaign began last week with CDTA ambassadors and Travel Trainers out on Route 5 buses and stops to educate customers on the new service. Additional supervisors will monitor Route 5 during the week of April 4th to provide assistance where needed.
”Bus Plus provides commuters with a new fast, efficient way to travel between Albany and Schenectady, which will help reduce congestion and increase fuel efficiency by taking cars off the road,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “I commend CDTA for their vision and leadership in listening to their customers, and for pulling together their partners on the state, federal and local level to make this project a reality.”
“Today’s introduction of the ‘BusPlus’ service will provide a new and more convenient way to connect the region’s two largest urban centers at either end of the Route 5 corridor,” said Joan McDonald, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. “The introduction of Bus Rapid Transit to the Capital Region firmly fits into Governor Cuomo’s goal of a responsive and responsible multi-modal transportation system that provides riders with a smart way to travel that is efficient and convenient.”
“BusPlus is a faster, more efficient way to travel between Albany and Schenectady, and is good for our environment and our economy,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “We encourage commuters and CDTA riders to take advantage of this new service.”
“BusPlus is an exciting addition to the quality service provided by CDTA,” said Albany County Executive Mike Breslin. “With the rising price of gas, the BusPlus program could not have started at a better time. It will hopefully encourage more individuals to leave their cars at home and use mass transit for both the convenience and environmental benefits.”
“As the economic revitalization of Schenectady County continues, BusPlus will allow residents to get to and from work quickly and safely,” said Susan Savage, Chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature. “With gas prices on the rise, BusPlus will offer a great alternative to driving between Schenectady and Albany Counties.”
“I am extremely proud of the efforts put forth by CDTA to not only enhance transportation options in our community, but also to improve quality of life and accessibility by introducing the BusPlus program, which offers faster service, convenience, and hybrid technology that will have a positive impact on the environment,” said Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. “This program will help ease the burden of transportation that many residents and downtown employees face, especially as gas prices continue to climb higher, and I look forward to the success of the BusPlus program in our Capital City.”
“We look forward to the new BusPlus service. The Route 5 Corridor is the Capital Region’s busiest travel corridor, and BusPlus will greatly enhance transportation options along it,” said Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan. “It will provide riders with faster and more efficient travel options and complement local service here in Colonie. We thank the CDTA for its leadership of a project important to all who live and work along Route 5.”
“The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC, has enjoyed a strong collaborative relationship with CDTA and its member communities, all of whom have supported this effort,” said Cohoes Mayor John T. McDonald III. “We are confident that BusPlus will be a positive enhancement to transportation within the Capital Region and we look forward to continued growth and success of this next generation transportation initiative which will benefit the ridership as well as our environment.”
BusPlus was born from the Capital District Transportation Committee New Visions Regional Transportation Plan, which calls for transportation investments to encourage smart growth, urban vitality, livable communities and transit oriented development. The development and implementation of BusPlus depended largely on community input.
It is part of the 100 miles of BRT plan for the Capital Region. Analysis shows strong fiscal return on the BRT investments for communities.
Project cost for BusPlus in its entirety is estimated to be $36.5 million. $16.5 million has been allocated for the development of BusPlus transit infrastructure and 15 new hybrid diesel electric buses supported by federal stimulus funds (ARRA). An estimated $20 million is required to complete this shovel ready project adding articulated buses, fare collection systems, signal priority and dedicated lanes and complete station installation.
The announcement culminated in an inaugural BusPlus ride with dignitaries and business and community leaders.
To learn more about BusPlus, visit www.cdta.org or call 482-8822. Information operators are on duty 6am-7pm weekdays and 8am-6pm weekends and holidays.
The following statements were provided in support of today’s announcement:
“This is absolutely terrific news for the Capital Region, as BusPlus will reduce traffic congestion, spur new economic growth, and save time for commuters. I worked hard to bring federal support to this project, because forging a faster Albany-to-Schenectady bus connection is a win-win for both cities, and will create jobs when we need it the most.” – U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
"The launch of BusPlus is the culmination of years of research, study and community input, of which the Central Avenue BID has been proud to be a partner,” said Central Avenue Business Improvement District Executive Director Anthony Capece. “We look forward to the enhanced service, station amenities, and certainly an enhanced rider experience, which, will in turn go hand in hand with our efforts toward continued economic development on Central Avenue. We applaud CDTA for their effort and look forward to the success of the program."
“CDTA is to be commended for bring BusPlus to our market. Its state-of-the-art buses will reduce congestion and reduce travel time along such a vital transportation corridor,” said Mark N. Eagan, President and CEO, Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Busplus is a practical, convenient and user friendly program that will greatly enhance the CDTA service, meeting the needs of its customers, at the same time providing the business community a significant asset for employee recruitment, retention and increased sales for their products and services,” stated Chuck Steiner, President of the Chamber of Schenectady County.
"The Colonie Chamber of Commerce commends CDTA and their new BusPlus program as a new, progressive and convenient means of transportation,” said Colonie Chamber President Tom Nolte. “CDTA continues to meet the needs of our region with innovations that improve the quality of life for both the business and residential community."