Waiting for the Light - TransitCenter
Governance Planning Policy
July 24, 2017
Waiting for the Light

Millions of New Yorkers are angry and frustrated about the state of our city’s subways and buses. Now is the time to modernize our transit system—and buses need to be part of the solution. As New Yorkers are increasingly unable to rely on public transit, fixes like transit signal priority offer an opportunity for quick wins for riders. 

Today the NYCDOT released a report demonstrating the power of signal priority to improve buses and outlining a plan for expanding its use. Concurrently, MTA New York City Transit moved to procure software needed to enable signal priority on buses systemwide.

However, the NYCDOT and MTA NYCT are planning a small, slow expansion to just 11 out of hundreds of NYC bus routes by 2020.  We call on the MTA NYCT and NYCDOT for a more ambitious timeline that would bring this solution to at least 20 routes in 2018, with the goal for continuing to extend it at a pace of at least 20 additional routes per year. The current transit State of Emergency warrants extending solutions like signal priority as extensively and widely as is possible.

Today we’re releasing our own analysis of key bus routes where the MTA NYCT and NYCDOT can implement transit signal priority (TSP), an action plan for quickly deploying signal priority, and an accelerated timeline for implementation that takes into account riders’ need for better service now. When we launched our Bus Turnaround Campaign in 2016, we identified TSP as a key strategy for getting New Yorkers back on the bus. 

Additionally, we recognize that for many riders it can be hard to immediately see how transit signal priority will help. To better highlight the frustrations signal priority can address, we’re also pleased to present “Waiting for the Light,” an original music video. Press release announcing the report and video available here. 

Full lyrics to “Waiting for the Light”

Like a movie scene

Like the sweetest dream

I have pictured the bus moving

It pulls up to a red

But gets to go ahead

Because here bus riders matter

What could agencies do to make this world be

It’s queue jumps and transit signal prior-ity

From all of this traffic please free up our ride

We have spent all of our lives


Waiting for the light (whoa-oh-oh)

When we will be on our way home

Waiting for the light (whoa-oh-oh-oh)

We’ve dreamed of this green for so long

Waiting for the light


USB you say

Won’t take my breath away

Lanes and signals would be better

Feels like we’re stuck in place

Can’t we pick up the pace?

So the commute won’t take forever

I think of the days when the sun used to set

With me on the bus

Standing stopped at a red

Tossing and turning

Frustrations are strong

Riders can barely hold on


Waiting for the light (whoa-oh-oh)

When we will be on our way home

Waiting for the light  (whoa-oh-oh-oh)

We’ve dreamed of this green for so long

Waiting for the light (whoa-oh-oh)

So we can be on our way home

Waiting for the light (whoa-oh-oh-oh)

With TSP we will not be

Waiting for the light

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