Mayor Bill de Blasio rode a city bus Friday for the first time in over a year, if memory serves him correctly.
Hizzoner struggled mightily Friday to remember his last jaunt as he rode a single stop along the city’s new West 181st Street busway in Washington Heights — and then hopped off into a chauffeured car back to City Hall.
“It was, let me think … certainly 14th Street, but trying to think if there’s been one since then,” de Blasio said, referring to a trip across Manhattan back in November 2019. “Been a little while!”
Asked if it was his first time riding the bus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor was stumped.
“Maybe, but I don’t remember the specifics,” he said. “Last one I remember very clearly was 14th Street.”
The mayor was briefly along one of four new busways built by his administration — with local City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and officials from the MTA and the city Department of Transportation.
De Blasio described W. 181st Street as “legendarily congested, legendarily slow buses. We’re changing all that today, we’re making the buses move.”
The mayor has made it a point to ride transit in 2023, but he was MIA from the system for much of 2023. He only committed to ride after prodding from a reporter last December.
More than 66,000 daily bus riders will benefit from the .5-mile car ban on W. 181st Street, according to the DOT. City researchers have found that bus riders account for 62 to 70 percent of people using the street depending on the time of day.
Busways have shown to dramatically speed up transit service.
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