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The 86th Street Crosstown Line is a bus line in Manhattan, New York City, United States, running mostly along 86th Street on the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan. Originally a streetcar line, it now comprises the M86 bus line.

86th Street Crosstown Line
M86 SBS (19671784721).jpg
An M86 bus during the debut of SBS service in July 2015.
SystemMTA New York City Bus
OperatorNew York City Transit Authority
GarageMichael J. Quill Depot
VehicleNova Bus LFS articulated
LiverySelect Bus Service
Communities servedUpper West Side, Upper East Side, Yorkville
Landmarks servedCentral Park, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Asphalt Green
StartUpper West Side – West End Avenue and West 86th Street
Via86th Street, York Avenue
EndYorkville – East 92nd Street and York Avenue
Operates5 a.m. (weekdays) or 6:30 a.m. (weekends) to 12:30 a.m.[1]
Annual patronage6,253,326 (2017)[2]
TimetableM86 SBS
← M79
M79 SBS (by borough)
B82 SBS (by route number)
 {{{system_nav}}}  M96
Q44 SBS →

The M86 has the highest "per-mile ridership" of all bus routes in the city, and the second highest ridership of all Manhattan crosstown routes after the M14A/D routes along 14th Street.[3] Because of this, the M86 became a Select Bus Service route in July 2015.

Route descriptionEdit

Streetcar serviceEdit

The 86th Street Crosstown Line was originally a streetcar line operated by the New York Railways Company. The route originally ran between Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) and the 92nd Street ferry terminal in Yorkville. At the terminal, passengers connected to ferries traveling across the East River to Astoria, Queens.[4][5][6] It was the last of the company's lines to begin operation. It was also the only line in Manhattan to cross Central Park.[4]

Current bus serviceEdit

The M86 bus runs crosstown along 86th Street in Upper Manhattan. The route begins at West 86th Street and Broadway in the Upper West Side. It proceeds east along 86th Street to Central Park West, then crosses the 86th Street Transverse through the park, stopping about halfway through the transverse at the NYPD Central Park Precinct. The M86 exits the transverse at East 84th Street and 5th Avenue, turning north onto Madison Avenue, then east back onto 86th Street. The M86 continues on East 86th Street through the Upper East Side until York Avenue, where it turns north and runs through Yorkville. At East 91st Street, the route turns west and terminates at First Avenue.[1][7][8]

Westbound buses begin service at East 92nd Street and York Avenue, at the Asphalt Green fitness center, and run essentially the same route along York Avenue and 86th Street. At West 86th Street and Broadway, the route turns north then west onto West 87th Street, terminating at West End Avenue.[1][7][8]

Unlike other SBS routes and most bus rapid transit lines, the M86 SBS does not have long bus lanes, but rather employs short queue jump lanes, which give buses priority at intersections.[3][9]

A geographically correct map of the M86 Select Bus Service route, showing all stations and connections. The route is in light blue.
Station Direction Connections
East 92nd Street
York Avenue
Westbound station

NYC Bus: M31

1st Avenue
East 91st Street
Eastbound terminus

NYC Bus: M15 (northbound only), M31

York Avenue
East 91st Street

NYC Bus: M31

York Avenue
East 88th 89th Streets

NYC Bus: M31

York Avenue
East 87th / 86th Streets

NYC Bus: M31

East 86th Street
1st Avenue

NYC Bus: M15, M15 SBS (northbound only)

East 86th Street
2nd Avenue

NYC Bus: M15, M15 SBS (southbound only)
NYC Subway:  M   N  Q  R  at 86th Street

East 86th Street
3rd Avenue

NYC Bus: M98, M101, M102, M103 (All buses northbound only)

East 86th Street
Lexington Avenue

NYC Bus: M98, M101, M102, M103 (All buses southbound only)
NYC Subway:  4  5  6   <6>  trains at 86th Street

East 86th Street
Madison Avenue

NYC Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4 (All buses northbound only)

East 86th Street
5th Avenue

NYC Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4 (All buses southbound only)

East 84th Street
5th Avenue

NYC Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4 (All buses southbound only)

86th Street Transverse Road
Central Park Police Precinct
Bidirectional Note: riders boarding at the Central Park Transverse stop will need to obtain their proof of fare payment receipt at the next stop (Central Park West or Fifth Ave depending on direction of travel).
West 86th Street
Central Park West

NYC Bus: M10

West 86th Street
Columbus Avenue

NYC Bus: M7, M11 (All buses southbound only)

West 86th Street
Amsterdam Avenue
Bidirectional NYC Bus: M7, M11 (All buses northbound only)
West 86th Street

NYC Bus: M104
NYC Subway:  1  2  trains at 86th Street

West 87th Street
West End Avenue
Western terminus

History Edit

A 1920 map of the 86th Street Line (far right), and the competing public bus route known as "Route D".
An M86 bus in 2007, prior to the implementation of SBS service.

In April and May 1872, two separate streetcar franchises along 86th Street were granted to the Second Avenue Railroad Company and the New York and Harlem Railroad, respectively. The Second Avenue Railroad received the rights to build a line east of Second Avenue, then north along York Avenue (then called Avenue A) to 92nd Street. The New York and Harlem Railroad, meanwhile, were permitted to construct a line west of Second Avenue, connecting with their Madison Avenue Line.[6] On April 30, 1890, the two companies agreed to give each other rights to operate on the trackage of the 86th Street Line.[6] Around this time, the City of New York constructed trolley tracks on the 85th/86th Street Transverse Road crossing Central Park.[6][10][11] On May 11, 1893, the New York and Harlem received the rights to operate on the Transverse Road tracks.[6] On June 11, 1896, the New York and Harlem Railroad leased its streetcar lines to the Metropolitan Street Railway.[6]

On November 12, 1908, the 86th Street Line was temporarily truncated to Second Avenue. This occurred when the Metropolitan Street Railway, a subsidiary of New York Railways, was turned over to creditors when New York Railways went into receivership; the portion of the 86th Street Line east of Second Avenue also went to the receivers, due to the original 1872 franchises. Travel to the 92nd Street Ferry required transferring between trolleys and paying additional fare.[6]

The line was turned over once again to the New York and Harlem Railroad, now a subsidiary of New York Railways, from February 1, 1920 to December 17, 1932. Afterwards, it returned to New York Railways.[4][12][13]

On November 3, 1919, the City of New York began operating municipal bus service to replace abandoned New York Railways lines, including the Delancey−Spring Streets Line. At this time, the city also began operating competing bus service along the 86th Street route, called "Route D".[14][15]

New York City Omnibus Corporation replaced New York Railways's streetcars with the M5–18 bus on June 8, 1936.[4][12][16]

The M18 was renumbered the M86 in 1989 to match the number of the crosstown street that it runs on.[17][18]

60-foot (18 m)-long articulated buses were added to the M86 and M79 routes in 2000. Bus stops were lengthened along the routes to accommodate the new buses, while some closely spaced stops were eliminated.[19][20]

Beginning on June 1, 2010, the M86 was part of a six-month trial testing MasterCard PayPass as a tap-and-go smart card payment system. The trial included seven other MTA bus routes, three NJ Transit bus routes, as well as the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and PATH subway routes.[21][22]

Select Bus ServiceEdit

An M86 SBS during the debut of SBS service in 2015.

The M86 was identified as a potential bus rapid transit corridor in 2009, under Phase II of the city's Select Bus Service program.[23] To accommodate the Select Bus Service conversion, 86th Street was to be renovated with pedestrian sidewalk extensions at intersections; bus bulbs, or pedestrian sidewalk extensions at bus stops; plants and trees; and new benches.[24][25]

The M86 SBS route debuted on July 13, 2015.[26][27] It was the fourth corridor in Manhattan and the fifth Manhattan bus line to have Select Bus Service.[28] The M86 SBS is based at the Michael J. Quill Depot.


  1. ^ a b c MTA Regional Bus Operations. "M86 bus schedule" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Facts and Figures". June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "M86 Select Bus Service Progress Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. April 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Stephen L. Meyers (2005). Manhattan's Lost Streetcars. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-3884-6.
  5. ^ "Astorians Badly Hit: Eighty-Sixth Street Transfers Not Good Beyond Second Avenue". Greenpoint Daily Star. 1908. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Case No. 1065: Through Routes–Transfers at Intersecting Point–Compliance with Franchise Requirements as Condition of Retention of Grant". Reports of Decisions of the Public Service Commission, First District , of the State of New York. New York Public Service Commission. 1: 502–512. 1912. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Manhattan Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "MTA Bus Time: M86-SBS Yorkville - West Side". MTA Bus Time.
  9. ^ "M86 and M79 Select Bus Service Manhattan Community Board 8 | October 5, 2016". Scribd. New York City Department of Transportation. October 5, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Mr. Robb Speaks His Mind". The New York Times. March 7, 1890. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "More Delay By Park Commissioners". The New York Times. November 13, 1890. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Linder, Bernard (June 2016). "NEW YORK RAILWAYS' STREET CARS QUIT 80 YEARS AGO" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders Association. 59 (6): 1, 4–6. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "LEASE IS APPROVED FOR NEW BUS ROUTES; Transit Commission, With Fullen Opposed, Votes on New York Railways Application". The New York Times. November 17, 1932. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  14. ^ "Horse Cars on W. 86th Street" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders Association. 45 (12): 3–4. December 2002. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  15. ^ Jackson, Walter (May 29, 1920). "The Place of the Bus–IV". Electric Railway Journal. McGraw Hill Publishing Company. 55 (22): 1088–1093. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  16. ^ "New York Railways Cars Quit 70 Years Ago" (PDF). New York Division Bulletin. Electric Railroaders Association. 49 (5): 1, 3, 5, 16. May 2006. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  17. ^ "NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT ROUTES". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  18. ^ "Manhattan Bus Map 1989". New York City Transit Authority. 1989. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  19. ^ Wong, Edward (October 24, 1999). "Neighborhood Report: Upper East Side; Larger Buses, Fewer Stops: Riders Feel Left at Curb". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  20. ^ Kennedy, Randy (July 19, 2001). "Study Shows Extra-Long Buses Have More Mishaps Than Others". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  21. ^ "news – MTA Launches Smart Card Pilot Program". MTA. May 28, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  22. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (June 11, 2010). "Testing PayPass on New York's Buses and Trains". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  23. ^ "86th Street Select Bus Service".
  24. ^ "Transit & Bus Committee Meeting April 2015" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  25. ^ Heather Holland (February 5, 2015). "Select Bus Service Coming to Speed M86 on Upper East Side". DNA Info. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved June 25, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  26. ^ "M86 Crosstown Line to Get Select Bus Service". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2015-01-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  27. ^ "NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Transit and Elected Officials Announce Launch of Select Bus Service on 86th Street".
  28. ^ "M86 86th Street Manhattan Crosstown".

External linksEdit