Hudson River Crossings: Improving Bus Capacity
Over 315,000 bus riders cross the Hudson River each weekday. More than half of these bus riders travel through the Lincoln Tunnel but the exclusive bus lane that only operates during the morning rush hour is at capacity.
Check out our latest production to find out more information about these crossings and what the Tri-state Transportation Campaign recommends for improving these bus crossings. You can download their full report here (pdf). Animation by Hugh Gran and design by Carly Clark.
[music] Narrator: [0:10] Every weekday as many bus commuters squeeze through the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the George Washington Bridge as make up the population of Cincinnati. 9,000 buses move 315,000 riders across the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan each weekday.
[0:27] If every bus passenger chose to drive a car, then traffic would be 84 percent higher than it is today adding nearly 200,000 vehicles to our roads, polluting our air evermore, and bringing our region's economy to a screeching halt. Just imagine having that many more cars on our roads.
[0:47] Over half of these bus riders travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. During a small weekday window of four hours 62,000 bus passengers travel on an exclusive bus lane that leads up to the tunnel. This bus lane, which only operates during the morning rush hours, carries more people than any roadway in the entire country. 1,700 buses use this lane in the morning.
[1:11] The bus lane was created in 1971, 38 years ago. A lot has changed since 1971. President Nixon was in office. A gallon of gas was 40 cents, and a million less people lived in New York City. But the Lincoln Tunnel's transit capacity is the exact same. Bus ridership increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2007. Even with the economic crisis, it's expected to increase the same amount by 2030. This means another 56,000 commuters will need a seat on a bus.
[1:42] With our climate warming and our economy still cold, we should be encouraging people to use transit. A bus rider's carbon footprint is one-fifth the footprint of a person driving a car. Every person on a bus means less wear and tear on our roads, less fuel consumption and less congestion on our streets.
[2:01] The Port Authority controls the Hudson River crossings and controls the commute of these 315,000 riders. If the agency decided to do so, it could use its road space in a way that was more efficient and better for our Earth and better for our wallets. It could provide another exclusive bus lane for in the morning and introduce a Lincoln Tunnel express bus lane out of Manhattan in the evening. In turn, bus riders will be happier, have more time with their families, and our air will be cleaner and our streets less clogged.