Select Bus Service in New York City
The Select Bus Service (SBS) program aims to make traveling by bus around NYC faster, more comfortable and more efficient. So far, so good.
Although currently active on relatively few bus routes, this system will, no doubt, be used more widely in the future.
What is Select Bus Service?
Select Bus Service (SBS) routes require passengers to pay their fares before boarding the bus, rather than after boarding. This promotes faster boarding by passengers.
It also avoids the sometimes excruciating delays experienced at each stop on some non-Select Service Bus routes, when new passengers line up to pay their fares one-by-one.
Select Bus Service and Buses Only lanes make a beautiful couple. Close your eyes when riding the Select Bus Service and it almost feels like you’re in a Formula 1 car.
Well, alright, maybe not that fast, but it feels that way when compared to many non-Select Bus Service routes.
How To Use Select Bus Service
- Find ticket machine next to bus stop
- Follow instructions on machine
- Machine asks you to insert your MetroCard
- Bus fare is deducted from your MetroCard
- Use coins-only machine if paying with coins (see photo caption below)
- Machine then prints a paper receipt
- KEEP THIS PAPER RECEIPT–DO NOT LOSE IT
- It is your PROOF OF PAYMENT
- Machine recognizes and honors transfers from the subway
- Transfers also receive paper receipt as proof of payment
- Select Bus Service costs the same as a regular bus/subway ride
- SingleRide tickets are also accepted
And, that’s it. Board bus through any door and find your seat. You do not have to show the driver your receipt.
Only those who pay with coins and require a bus transfer will need to speak to the driver to request their transfer. Otherwise, you do not have to show the driver anything.
The machines look like this:
Select Bus Service: New York City Trusts, But Verifies
Speaking of not having to show the driver your receipt: the city trusts you to pay, but it also verifies that you do. The Select Service Bus system is, in essence, an honors system. The kind that’s been used on European public transportation for decades. New York’s just getting around to it, but better now than never.
Select Service Buses are randomly boarded by transit police to verify payments. What happens if you are caught without a ticket? Fun stuff.
You get escorted off the bus by the police, have your identification checked and get issued a shiny, new (and expensive) fare evasion ticket/summons.
Select Bus Service Resources
To learn more about MetroCards, see our New York City MetroCards: How To Buy The Best One post.
For listing of Select Bus Service routes, and additional information, including machine outages, please see Section 9C: Additional Select Bus Service Information on our New York City Public Transit Resources page.