What does it take to be considered worthy of a westbound Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL) in the Lincoln Tunnel?
Evidently, Super Bowl tickets.
New York City and New Jersey transportation leaders announced plans yesterday for enhanced transit services for the game. The MTA, NJ Transit and PATH will be operating close to normal weekday rush, and they’re planning to operate a “Fan Express” bus which will have its own westbound XBL in the Lincoln Tunnel.
This is good news for fans traveling to MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl, especially since there will only be 13,000 parking spaces available (and by permit only), and 70 percent of game-goers will be expected to use mass transit. All in all, nearly 80,000 people are expected to arrive at the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday.
But what about the 225,000 daily weekday bus commuters who travel to New Jersey from the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) via the Lincoln Tunnel? Don’t they deserve a similarly dedicated westbound bus lane?
The Lincoln Tunnel’s eastbound exclusive bus lane now sees three times as many buses as it did when it opened in 1971. But a westbound XBL during the evening rush has yet to be introduced, even though there are nearly as many westbound afternoon bus commuters using the Lincoln Tunnel as there are eastbound morning bus commuters. For years, Tri-State and other advocates have been calling for a westbound XBL to address the capacity limitation of the PABT. Perhaps the Super Bowl is a window of opportunity to get that much-needed dedicated bus lane by both opening the westbound XBL before the Super Bowl (and leaving it open after the game ends).
While the odds of either the Giants or the Jets making it to the Super Bowl this year are slim to none, perhaps at least New York and New Jersey commuters could come out of this victorious.