BusTime uses GPS devices on buses which let transit riders use their cell phones and computers to locate nearby buses.
“Deploying the BusTime technology onto the B61 route will help passengers know when to expect the next bus,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez in a statement. “This is a positive step, but we must continue working to find additional transportation solutions for this underserved community.”
The B61 will be the second bus in Brooklyn to get the system, following the B63 on Fifth and Atlantic avenues.
Improvements to the B61 line are in response to a report, “Next Bus Please: Improving the B61 Bus,” released in December by Valezquez, along with Council members Brad Lander and Sara Gonzalez, which found that only 43 percent of the line's buses arrive on time during rush hour.
According to the report, 42 percent of northbound B61 buses observed between 8 and 9 a.m. at the Columbia and Union Street stop skipped it because they were too full.
The report found that B61 buses traveling north during rush hour often carry more passengers than the MTA's loading guidelines allow.
In addition, 75 percent of passengers surveyed at Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street said the closure of the Smith-Ninth Street subway station negatively impacted their commute.
Other improvements the MTA pledged for the B61 include more frequent buses in the evening rush hour, increasing the amount of time the bus has to make its run and recover at the end of its route, and changing the location of the bus driver shift change from the middle of the route to the end of it.
Gonzalez said she is pleased with the improvements to mass transit in Red Hook, but wants more transit options in the neighborhood.
She said the delay of the Smith-Ninth Street subway station until the fall highlights the city's need to address transportation issues there.
“I renew my call for more bus lines to serve Red Hook, which remains as one of the most isolated and underserved areas of the city,” Gonzalez said.