Bx15 bus

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The Bx15 bus route is a public transit line in New York City that operates on the Third Avenue/125th Street Line between Fordham Plaza in the Bronx and Manhattanville in Manhattan. The full-length route runs along Third Avenue and Willis Avenue in the South Bronx, and along 125th Street in Harlem. On weekdays, some buses run a reduced version of the route between the Hub and Fordham Plaza in the Bronx.

Third Avenue/125th Street Line[1]
A Bx15 bus
SystemMTA Regional Bus Operations
OperatorNew York City Transit Authority (NYCT)
GarageKingsbridge Depot
Formerly West Farms Depot[2]
VehicleNova Bus LFS articulated
Began service1864 (streetcar line)
April 1, 1916 (Bronx-Harlem streetcar)
August 5, 1941 (bus service)[3]
LocaleThe Bronx; Manhattan
Communities servedFordham, Belmont, Tremont, Morrisania, Melrose, Mott Haven, East Harlem, Harlem, Manhattanville
StartFordham Plaza, Bronx – Fordham Road
ViaThird Avenue, Willis Avenue, Third Avenue Bridge (southbound) / Willis Avenue Bridge (northbound), 125th Street[4]
EndThe Hub, Bronx – 149th Street (local weekday service)
Manhattanville, Manhattan – 12th Avenue (full route)
Length6.6 miles (10.6 km)
Other routesBx41 Webster Avenue
Operates24 hours
Annual patronage3,919,799 (2020)[5]
← Bx13  {{{system_nav}}}  Bx16 →

The bus route, labeled as Bx29 prior to 1984, is the successor to a streetcar line of the Union Railway Company and later the Third Avenue Railway known as the Willis Avenue Line or Willis Avenue−125th Street Line. The streetcar line, the first street railway in the Bronx, was known as the Harlem Bridge, Morrisania, and Fordham Railroad. The route began operation on Third Avenue in the Bronx in 1864, and the company was incorporated as the Union Railway Company in 1892. The Union Railroad applied in 1904 for extensions of several streetcar lines into Manhattan, including an extension of the Willis Avenue Line across 125th Street. The Willis Avenue Line was ultimately extended in 1916 across the 125th Street Crosstown Line.

The streetcar line was replaced by bus service in 1941. From 1973 to 2013 the Bx15 shared Third Avenue with the Bx55, a limited-stop service which replaced rapid transit service on the Third Avenue Elevated line between the Hub and Williamsbridge. In 2013, the Bx55 was converted into the Bx15 Limited, extending the route south to Manhattan, but eliminating service north of Fordham Plaza. The Bx15 south of the Hub was expected to be split into a new M125 bus route in 2020, but has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.

Route description and serviceEdit

A 2010-model Nova Bus LFS articulated on the Bx15 traveling on 125th Street towards West Harlem in 2020

The current Bx15 bus route begins at Fordham Road and Third Avenue in today's Fordham Plaza. It runs south down Third Avenue to Third Avenue–149th Street station in the Hub. At 138th Street, southbound buses turn west and travel on the Third Avenue Bridge into Manhattan, while northbound buses use the Willis Avenue Bridge from Manhattan. After crossing the bridge into Harlem, it turns west along 125th Street, sharing the 125th Street Crosstown Line with several other bus routes. It terminates at the west shore of Manhattan, on 12th Avenue.[4][6]

The Bx15 connects the two largest shopping districts in the Bronx: Fordham Road and the Hub.[7] In Manhattan, the Bx15 shares the 125th Street Crosstown corridor with three other bus routes: the M100 and M101 local buses, and the M60 Select Bus Service route to LaGuardia Airport. The Bx15 is the only route to travel the entire length of 125th Street.[4]

On weekdays except early mornings and nights, the Bx15 Limited operates the entire route between Manhattan and Fordham Plaza, making limited stops north of 149th Street. The Bx15 local runs between 149th Street and Fordham Plaza during this time.[4][7] Local and limited buses typically run every 8 to 12 minutes all day, except during late nights, when local buses run every hour and limited service does not run.[8]

The Bx15 fleet is maintained from the Kingsbridge Depot.[2] The route exclusively uses articulated buses, namely Nova Bus LFS articulated models.[9] During weekday peak hours, OBI Orion VII NG HEV 07.501 and Nova Bus LFS 40 foot (12 m) long buses run on the route to fill in for articulated models.


In 2018, the latest year for which passenger numbers are available, the Bx15 and Bx15 Limited had a combined 7,004,278 passengers,[5] or an average of 21,777 per weekday.[10]


As a streetcar lineEdit

In 1863, the first street railway was constructed in the Bronx, known as the Harlem Bridge, Morrisania, and Fordham Railroad. The route ran from the Harlem Bridge (now Third Avenue Bridge) to Fordham via Third Avenue, and began operation in 1864. It was informally called the "Huckleberry Road".[11] In 1892, the company was incorporated as the Union Railway Company. On August 23 of that year, it was granted several streetcar franchises in the Bronx by the Board of Aldermen, as part of an expanded "Huckleberry System". This included a line from the Harlem River to the Westchester County border via Willis Avenue, Melrose Avenue, Webster Avenue, and Bronx River Road.[11][12][13] The line was completed by fall 1895.[12] The company would become a subsidiary of the Third Avenue Railway in 1898.[11]

In February 1904, the Union Railroad would apply for extensions of several streetcar lines into Manhattan. This included an extension of the Willis Avenue Line from 134th Street in Mott Haven over the recently constructed Willis Avenue Bridge (opened in 1901)[11] into East Harlem at 125th Street, connecting with lines of the Third Avenue Railway.[14] Ten years later on July 2, 1914, the company received a permit to extend Willis Avenue service across the bridge, then west along 125th Street to Fort Lee Ferry, which connected Manhattan with Fort Lee, New Jersey. The service was requested to eliminate the required transfer to other streetcar lines.[15] The new service was inaugurated on April 1, 1916, providing a link between the Bronx and New Jersey. The occasion was celebrated with a 7-day carnival in Harlem.[16][17] Thereafter, the line became alternately known as the Willis Avenue−125th Street Line.[18]

In its final iteration, the line traveled between Fordham and western Harlem using Third Avenue, the Willis Avenue Bridge, and 125th Street. The line terminated at a loop at 12th Avenue (Riverside Drive) between 125th Street and Saint Clair Place (geographically 129th Street). At 12th Avenue there was a connection to the Fort Lee Ferry.[19][20][14] The line formerly proceeded further north along Webster Avenue to McClean Avenue, at the border with the city of Yonkers in Westchester County. This portion of the line was discontinued on August 18, 1935.[20] Between 149th Street and Gun Hill Road, the line ran directly underneath the Third Avenue Elevated line, a rapid transit line which formerly ran to Lower Manhattan.[14] The route between Fordham Plaza and the city line along Webster Avenue was also shared with the Webster and White Plains Avenues Line streetcars.[20][14]

As a bus lineEdit

20th centuryEdit

A Bx55 bus running underneath the former 174th Street El station in 1974

Beginning in the 1920s, many streetcar lines in the Bronx, Manhattan and the rest of the city began to be replaced by buses, particularly after the unification of the city's three primary transit companies in June 1940.[18][21][22] The conversion of the Willis Avenue Line occurred in 1941, as part of the conversion of the Third Avenue Bridge and Willis Avenue Bridge into one-way spans between the Bronx and Manhattan. The new traffic pattern was instituted on the morning of August 5, 1941, and bus service along the former streetcar route began that afternoon.[23][24] The bus route would be numbered 29, later the "Bx29".[18][25][26] The bus route was operated by the Third Avenue Railway company until 1956, and by the New York City Omnibus Corporation (later under the brand Fifth Avenue Coach Lines) until 1962. That year, the New York City Transit Authority began operating the line under the subsidiary Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA), which continues to operate the route under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).[27]

On April 29, 1973, service on the IRT Third Avenue Line (by that time truncated to the Bronx) was eliminated and replaced by the Bx55 limited bus service, which provided free transfers to the subway at Third Avenue–149th Street and 161st Street–Yankee Stadium.[28][29][30] On February 19, 1984, the Bronx bus system was redesigned, and southbound Bx55 service was rerouted off of Washington Avenue between 189th Street and 163rd Street and onto Third Avenue.[30][31] In addition, several bus routes were redesigned, with higher-priority routes given lower numbers. As part of the 1984 changes, the Bx29 was renumbered to the Bx15.[32][33] Since the Bx55 already offered free transfers to the subway, it was one of the few routes in the city to allow free transfers to the subway prior to the introduction of the MetroCard in 1993, and one of the first routes to use the MetroCard.[34][35] Paper tickets were used prior to the use of MetroCard for free transfers at Third Avenue–149th Street and 161st Street—Yankee Stadium.[36]

In June 1995, service along the Bx55 branch to Yankee Stadium via East 161st Street, stopping only at Washington Avenue and River Avenue, was discontinued to improve service for riders and reliability. While only 5% of riders used this branch, it received 21% of service on weekdays and 25% of service on weekends. Bx6 service was increased to mitigate the need to transfer to get to Yankee Stadium. In addition, free transfers were allowed between the Bx55 and intersecting bus routes, changing the route from a rapid transit replacement to a limited-stop branch of the Bx15. In 1995, New York City Transit was in the process of building a weather-protected intermodal terminal at Third Avenue–149th Street.[36] On September 10, 1995, as part of systemwide cuts in bus and subway service to reduce the MTA's budget deficit, late night Bx55 service north of Fordham Plaza was discontinued.[37][38]

On September 8, 1996,[39] late night Bx55 service, between 1 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., was eliminated and merged with the Bx15. The frequency of Bx15 service along the entire route was reduced from running every 50 minutes to running every 60 minutes. Supplemental Bx15 service was provided between Fordham Road and 149th Street to maintain the Bx55's frequency. To maintain the transfer to the subway, bus-subway transfers were accepted on the Bx15 overnight. The change was made to eliminate duplicative service, which was lightly patronized. In addition, an unnecessary turn at 147th Street was eliminated; it had existed because a support pillar of the Third Avenue Elevated, which had been demolished for some time, had prevented northbound buses from turning directly from Willis Avenue to Third Avenue.[40]

21st centuryEdit

A non-articulated Bx15 entering the Third Avenue Bridge towards upper Manhattan. This was taken in 2007, before the Bx15's transfer from West Farms Depot to Kingsbridge Depot.

In June 2002, as part of an outside study, the Third Avenue corridor was identified for the implementation of bus rapid transit service, due to heavy ridership and slow travel speeds on the corridor.[41] In February 2004, selected weekday and all weekend Bx55 trips terminated at Fordham Plaza.[42][43] On June 27, 2010, evening and weekend Bx55 service was eliminated.[43]

In 2009, as part of Phase II of the MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT)'s Select Bus Service (SBS), both the Third Avenue and Webster Avenue bus corridors were studied for the implementation of a north-to-south bus rapid transit service through the South Bronx.[44][45] The Bx41 Limited along Webster Avenue was selected for conversion to SBS since that corridor was wider,[46] and became the Bx41 SBS on June 30, 2013.[7][45] On the same day, the Bx55 was discontinued and, on July 1, it was replaced by new Bx15 limited-stop service, which operated at all times except late nights and weekends. Service along 125th Street was replaced by Bx15 limited service, and by Bx15 local service when limited service did not run. Service north of Fordham Plaza along Webster Avenue was replaced by the Bx41 SBS.[42][45][47] The service changes coincided with the reconstruction of Fordham Plaza's terminal area beginning in 2013, closing Third Avenue to all non-bus through traffic and constructing a bus loop to "turn" terminating Bx15 buses.[48][49] The bus loop was completed in 2014.[50]

As part of the MTA's 2017 Fast Forward Plan to speed up mass transit service, a draft plan for a reorganization of Bronx bus routes was proposed in draft format in June 2019, with a final version published in October 2019. The plan included splitting the section of the Bx15 south of the Hub into a new bus route labeled the M125.[51] This change was proposed to be implemented by mid-2020.[52][53] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, the changes were halted for over a year.[54] As of September 2021, when the Bronx bus redesign was restarted, the modifications were scheduled to be completed by June 2022.[54]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Bronx Bus Map Notes". mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Newman, Andy (December 23, 2005). "The Slow, Ponderous Process of Restarting the Wheels". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  3. ^ Bill Twomey (May 28, 2002). South Bronx. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4396-2839-3.
  4. ^ a b c d MTA Regional Bus Operations. "Bx15 bus schedule" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". mta.info. August 28, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
    "Manhattan Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. July 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "+selectbusservice: Bx41 on Webster Avenue Progress Report" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York City Department of Transportation. August 25, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bronx Bus Service" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. October 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  9. ^ "New York MTA Bus Roster (Depot) – The Insider's Guide". transiTALK Transportation Media Group. November 20, 2019. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Facts and Figures". mta.info. August 28, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d S. Jenkins. The Story of the Bronx from the Purchase Made by the Dutch from the Indians in 1639 to the Present Day. Рипол Классик. pp. 238–241. ISBN 978-1-143-80870-8.
  12. ^ a b "Union Railway Hearing: Question of Revoking Its Charter Before the Alderman" (PDF). The New York Times. November 2, 1895. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Gift to the Huckleberry: Valuable Franchises Voted by the Alderman" (PDF). The New York Times. August 24, 1892. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d "Union Railway Plans To Enter Manhattan: Petitions for Franchises to Effect Thirteen Connections" (PDF). The New York Times. February 24, 1904. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "Admit Bronx Trolley Line: Cars May Run to Fort Le Ferry Without Giving Transfers" (PDF). The New York Times. July 3, 1914. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  16. ^ New York State Public Service Commission (1917). Report of the Public Service Commission For The First District of The State of New York For the Year Ending December 31, 1916. p. 351.
  17. ^ "7-Day Carnival Starts In Harlem: Will Celebrate the Union of the Bronx and Jersey by Trolley and Ferry" (PDF). The New York Times. April 2, 1916. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Sparberg, Andrew J. (October 1, 2014). From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-6190-1.
  19. ^ New York Legislature (1920). Report On The Traction Situation In New York City By The Public Service Commission for The First District In Response To a concurrent resolution passed by both Houses of the Legislature in 1920, calling upon the Public Service Commissioner for the results of his investigation and information as to whether it is possible for the traction companies to give adequate service at the present rate of fare. New York State Public Service Commission. p. 116.
  20. ^ a b c Linder, Bernard (March 1996). "New York Division ERA Bulletin". 39 (3). Electric Railroaders Association: 7. Retrieved December 24, 2015. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. ^ Seyfried, Vincent F. (1961). Story of the Long Island Electric Railway and the Jamaica Central Railways, 1894-1933. F. E. Reifschneider. Retrieved December 20, 2015 – via Internet Archive.
  22. ^ "Trolley Cars Here On Way To Oblivion By Next Year's End: 700 New Buses to Assume Travel Burden on Lines in Manhattan and Bronx" (PDF). The New York Times. September 15, 1945. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "One-Way Bridges To Ease Traffic: Willis Ave. Span Northbound Artery, 3d Ave. Southbound, Beginning Tomorrow" (PDF). The New York Times. August 4, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  24. ^ "Traffic Will Be One Way On Harlem River Bridges" (PDF). The New York Times. August 3, 1941. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  25. ^ "1976 Bronx Bus Map". New York City Transit Authority. 1976. Retrieved March 3, 2016 – via Ward Maps.
  26. ^ "Old MTA bus timetables". Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  27. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (2010). The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11465-2.
  28. ^ Seigel, Max H. (July 18, 1972). "City Plans to Raze 3d Ave. El in Bornx" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  29. ^ "3d Avenue El Closes Saturday; Fleet of 60 Buses to Replace It" (PDF). The New York Times. April 22, 1973. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  30. ^ a b "A Bit of Bronx's Past Clatters Out". New York Daily News. April 29, 1973. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  31. ^ "1984 Bronx Bus Map". New York City Transit Authority. 1984. Retrieved February 19, 2020 – via Flickr.
  32. ^ Reyes, Lennin (October 2, 2011). "Busses and Trains A Go-Go". Bronx Journal. Archived from the original on December 24, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  33. ^ Bronx Bus Service Changes Effective February 19, 1984. New York City Transit Authority. February 1984. pp. 1, 2, 3, 4.
  34. ^ Faison, Seth (November 18, 1992). "Bronx Bus Line Riders Get Glimpse of Future". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  35. ^ "Transfer Scheme Ends". The New York Times. July 8, 1997. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  36. ^ a b NYC Transit Committee Agenda February 1995. New York City Transit. February 15, 1995. pp. D.92, D.93, D.94, D.95, D.96, D.101.
  37. ^ "Transit Changes". New York Daily News. May 2, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "In September, there will be some changes to bus and subway service". New York Daily News. September 11, 1995. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  39. ^ "Bus Service Notices Updated June 24, 1997". mta.nyc.ny.us. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 24, 1997. Archived from the original on 1997. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  40. ^ NYC Transit Committee Agenda May 1996. New York City Transit. May 9, 1996. pp. 259, 260–261, 262, 263.
  41. ^ "Bus Rapid Transit For New York City" (PDF). Schaller Consulting, Transportation Alternatives, New York Public Interest Research Group. June 2002. p. 25. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  42. ^ a b Reyes, Lennin (November 24, 2011). "Confusing Bus Riders One Cut at a Time". The Bronx Journal. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  43. ^ a b "2010 budget crisis information" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 19, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 24, 2013.
  44. ^ "Introduction to Bus Rapid Transit Phase II" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2009. p. 22.
  45. ^ a b c "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting April 2013" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  46. ^ See:
  47. ^ See:
  48. ^ "Fordham Plaza: Conceptual Design Study" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corporation. 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  49. ^ WXY Architecture and Urban Design (Summer 2010). "Fordham Plaza Conceptual Master Plan" (PDF). New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York City Department of Transportation. p. 15. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  50. ^ Romanowska, Kasia (September 3, 2014). "Reinventing Fordham Plaza". Norwood News. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  51. ^ "Final Plan, Bronx Bus Network Redesign". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 2019. pp. 75–76. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  52. ^ Spivack, Caroline (October 22, 2019). "MTA's Bronx bus redesign will chop 400 stops and add new routes". Curbed NY. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  53. ^ "MTA releases final Bronx bus system overhaul proposal". ABC7 New York. October 22, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  54. ^ a b Duggan, Kevin (September 12, 2021). "MTA delays bus network redesign completion until 2026, blames COVID-19 pandemic". amNewYork. Retrieved October 12, 2021.

External linksEdit

Route map:

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