The Lincoln Tunnel Exclusive Bus Lane

vintage photo of Lincoln Tunnel workers

Over 40 Years Strong. Over 40 Years Green


December 18, 2010 marked the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Lincoln Tunnel's Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL).

The XBL is a 2.5 mile contra-flow bus lane traveling along New Jersey Route 495, leading from the New Jersey Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel. It operates during the weekday morning peak period (from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.), and is one of a three-part priority bus system, which includes the Lincoln Tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The Port Authority is responsible for daily operation of the XBL, including its opening and closing, removal of disabled vehicles, and response to emergencies.


The XBL has enjoyed tremendous growth over the years. At the end of its first full year of operation in 1971, the lane accommodated approximately 206,000 buses, and 8.7 million passengers. By contrast, in 2009, the XBL averaged 1,791 daily buses, which translates to nearly 450,000 buses, and almost 16.5 million passengers for the year. During the weekday morning peak period, the XBL carries more commuters into Midtown Manhattan than PATH, Penn Station commuter rail, or ferries each carry during the same period.

Since its opening through 2009, the XBL has served 14.1 million buses and over 530 million passengers! Over 100 bus carriers use the XBL today compared to 25 in 1970. Commuters can save an average of 15-20 minutes when compared to traveling on the normal Route 495 lanes.

Public Transportation Facts

  • Each year, an individual can achieve an average annual savings of more than $9,000 by taking public transportation instead of driving, and living with one less car.
  • Public transportation saves 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—equivalent to the emissions resulting from the electricity generated for the use of 4.9 million households, or every household in New York City; Washington, DC; Atlanta;Denver; and Los Angeles combined.
  • Nationwide, the cost and time lost from traffic congestion would have been 15 percent worse without public transportation service.

Source: American Public Transportation Association


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