South Williamsburg to Borough Park
When one first looks at the B110, it seems nonsensical. It's an intra-borough express route that runs from Borough Park to Williamsburg, but just shy of the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza Bus Terminal. It also has its own fare payment system and is run by a separate company, Private Transportation. However, the route makes a lot more sense when you look at the demographics of the areas it serves. These areas are heavily Hasidic, and this bus route specifically caters to Hasidic Jews. However, it isn't a private bus route, it is operated as a franchise owned by the city, with NYCEDC contracting the route out to Private Transportation. This route is not operated by the MTA, so it makes sense that it doesn't take MetroCard (or OMNY). That being said, the fare payment system is insane. Basically, it is $4 (or $2 if you are not riding the express section) with a bus card, which you can buy on the bus, but get this, you can ONLY buy it preloaded with $100. You can also pay $5 in cash to ride the bus (no matter how far you are travelling), $5 bills only. With that, let's get on to the review.
I boarded at the first stop in Williamsburg, Lee Avenue and Taylor Street. We headed south on Lee Avenue, passing many Hasidic businesses, and stopping at each B44 stop. We crossed over the BQE, and continued south to Middleton Street, where we turned left, and made a pretty nonsensical stop to pick someone up in the middle of the intersection.
Ugh, all dots. (There was an open window to take pictures out of)
Passing over the BQE
After that... interesting stop, we merged onto Wallabout Street, now following the B48. We continued along Wallabout Street, getting more and more industrial, until we veered onto Kent Avenue. We crossed under the BQE, then turned left onto Willamsburg Street West (the frontage road for the BQE) and passed a small park.
Passing under the BQE
The small park
We then took the on-ramp onto the BQE. Express section time! Except... it's the BQE, so traffic. We sat in traffic for a while, inching thorugh Fort Greene and passing under the Manhattan Bridge. Traffic sped up slowly as we passed DUMBO and its new high-rises. The traffic jam finally ended after DUMBO, and we headed south
Fort Greene, with the Navy Yard in the background
Passing under the Manhattan Bridge
We quickly passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, before getting a nice view of Downtown Manhattan's skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park. We passed over Atlantic Avenue, and then descended into an open cut past the brownstones of Cobble Hill. Soon, we exited the open cut and proceeded into the messy interchange with the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.
The Downtown Manhattan skyline
We then crossed over the Gowanus Creek on an insanely overbuilt bridge, and then took exit 24 onto the Prospect Expressway. We went into an open cut for a bit, then took exit 4 to 10th Avenue, where we turned right and headed southwest for a block before turning left on McDonald Avenue. We headed south, with Greenwood Cemetery on the right, and mostly single family homes on the left.
The merge onto the Prospect Expressway
We then turned right onto Fort Hamilton Parkway, paralleling Greenwood Cemetery, with auto body shops on the left. At 37th Street, Greenwood Cemetery ended, and the road became more commercial, with shops lining both sides. We continued down this retail stretch before reaching New Utrecht Avenue, and passing under the D train.
The south end of Greenwood Cemetery
Under the BMT West End Line
Soon after this, we passed Maimonides Medical Center, which coincidentally, the bus's wrap was related to. We then turned left onto 50th Street, following the route of the B11, and passing mostly two-story apartments. We passed under the D train again at 12th and New Utrecht Avenues, where there was a burst of retail, before continuing east past more apartments, mostly three-story.
Maimonides Medical Center
Mostly residential 50th Street
Continuing east, we passed a large yeshiva on 14th Avenue, where a lot of people got off. We then continued along leafy 50th Street to 18th Avenue, where the bus turned left to its last stop, on 18th Avenue, shared with the B8.
The large yeshiva on 14th Avenue
A cool shot of the wrap
This destination sign tells you basically all of the company's info in addition to the destination. Quite useful!
Route: B110 (South Williamsburg to Borough Park)
Ridership: I couldn't find any ridership data, however my ride got 14 total people, including one person using the bus in Borough Park only. However, I did ride on a Sunday, and I have heard that this route gets very good ridership on weekdays.
Pros: The route functions as a vital connection between two very culturally-connected areas that don't have a better connection. It has quite good ridership, despite the not-so-great schedule, and is faster than the subway (and more direct).
Cons: The fare payment system is insane, and from what I saw, is also a bit glitchy. Also, the schedule is a bit wonky, and running every hour (but sometimes every 70 minutes) on weekdays is less than ideal. Also, the website definitely needs a refresh.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Of course, the Jewish neighborhoods of South Williamsburg and Borough Park are really cool, but the bus stops only 2 blocks away from Brooklyn's Chinatown, on 8th Avenue, which would be cool to explore!
Final Verdict: 7/10
If the schedule was improved to run every half hour on weekdays, and the fare system was modernized, I could see myself giving this route a 9/10. Private Transportation already has 9 buses assigned to the B110, so they should use more of them to run more frequent service. And, for the fare system, just integrate it with OMNY. It shouldn't be that hard.