Select Bus Service (SBS) New York City

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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 combined with Buses Only lanes make traveling by bus much more efficient than in the past.

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
  • 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:

Image shows three machines. These machines are used to make payment when using New York City's Select Bus Service. The two machines on the left are used when paying via MetroCard. The machine on right is used when paying with cash.
The two machines on the left are used when paying your Select Service Bus fare via MetroCard. The machine on the right is used when paying with coins. These machines are found at every Select Bus Service stop. When payment is made, you will receive a paper receipt confirming your payment.

Select Bus Service: New York City Trusts, But Verifies

The city trusts you to pay, but it also verifies that you do. The Select Service Bus system is, in essence, an honors system.

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.

Always pay.

Select Bus Service Resources

This video discusses the M15 Select Bus Service route, but the information applies to any Select Bus Service route:

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 on our New York City Public Transit Resources page.

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