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MTA will pilot double-decker buses between Staten Island and Manhattan

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The double-deckers are part of a larger system-wide modernization effort for the city’s buses

Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

NYC will test out its first double-decker bus starting today in what is part of a major effort to revamp the city’s bus infrastructure, NY1 reports. The double-decker bus will first run as part of a pilot program on the X17J express route between Staten Island and Manhattan, and then be rolled out into the rest of the city if it proves to be successful there.

These new buses will run in tandem with a new MTA app that will allow passengers to check if there’s a seat available for them on the bus.

Later today, the MTA will release a detailed report on how it plans to modernize the city’s bus system, to encourage more people to use the bus over their personal vehicles. Aside from the double-decker bus, some of the new changes will include increasing average bus speeds, all door boarding (which only exists on the Select Bus Service right now), and the ability to pay the fare before boarding the bus.

Other changes include creating more bus-only lanes, re-mapping some of the existing bus routes, and increasing service during off-peak hours. The MTA is looking to implement many of these changes by 2020.

“If we don’t do anything, this city will achieve complete gridlock, it will grind to a halt,” NYCT chief Andy Byford told NY1. “So we need to give buses a super efficient way of getting about, a fighting chance of getting through the traffic.”