The Eighth Avenue Line is a public transit line in Manhattan, New York City, United States, running mostly along Eighth Avenue from Lower Manhattan to Harlem. Originally a streetcar line, it is now the M10 bus route and the M20 bus route, operated by the New York City Transit Authority. The M10 bus now only runs north of 57th Street (near Columbus Circle), and the M20 runs south of 66th Street. The whole line was a single route, the M10, until 2000 when the M20 was created.
The M10 and M20 bus routes serve the northern and southern and southern halves of the Eighth Avenue corridor, respectively. The routes intersect in Upper Midtown Manhattan, between Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. Until 2000, the two routes were a single M10 route, running 10 miles (16 km) between Harlem and Lower Manhattan.
The M10 bus begins in Harlem at Frederick Douglas Boulevard (Eighth Avenue) roughly where 158th Street would be located, on the east side of the Polo Grounds Towers housing complex. There is no actual intersection with 158th Street at this point. The route travels south Frederick Douglas Boulevard, which becomes Central Park West at West 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Circle. At West 63rd Street in Lincoln Center, southbound buses turn west, then turn south on Broadway, terminating at 57th Street and Broadway just south of Columbus Circle. Northbound buses travel along the entire length of Eighth Avenue towards Harlem. Prior to 2010, the M10 continued south to Penn Station at 34th Street.:79
The M20 begins service at Broadway and West 63rd Street in Lincoln Center, at Dante Park. Southbound, the route travels through Columbus Circle, east along 59th Street, and south along Seventh Avenue, which becomes Seventh Avenue South and then Varick Street. At the end of Varick Street in Tribeca, the M20 runs south on West Broadway, then west along Chambers Street past West Street into Battery Park City. The route then travels along North End Avenue, Vesey Street, a short stretch of West Street, South End Avenue, Battery Place, and State Street. The route terminates at Whitehall Street along the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal bus loop.
Northbound M20 buses follow essentially the same route through Battery Park City, except using Murray Street instead of Vesey Street. At Chambers Street and West Street, the route turns north onto West Street, east on Harrison Street, then north onto Hudson Street. At Abingdon Square Park and Bleecker Park, Hudson Street feeds into Eighth Avenue, which the M20 follows into Midtown. At West 66th Street, the M20 turns west, then turns south on Broadway, terminating at West 63rd Street.
The Eighth Avenue Railroad opened the line from the north end of the trackage shared with the Sixth Avenue Railroad's Sixth Avenue Line at Canal Street and Varick Street along Canal Street, Hudson Street, and Eighth Avenue to 51st Street on August 30, 1852. It was eventually extended north to 159th Street, with a branch along Macomb's Lane to 154th Street, and another branch to the south along Canal Street east to Broadway.
Buses were substituted for streetcars by the Eighth Avenue Coach Corporation in March 1936, a company owned by Fifth Avenue Coach Company. The New York City Omnibus Corporation took over operations in 1951, and in 1956 it was renamed Fifth Avenue Coach Lines; the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority replaced it in 1962. In 1962, when the Surface Company bought 8 Avenue they put one bus service for the entire length. This was given the route number 10, which then became bus M10.
In January 1999, the MTA issued a performance report on the M10 route, calling the route "extremely long and unreliable", with high headway times between buses. On January 16, 2000, the M10 was split into two routes, with the northern section from Harlem to Penn Station still operating under the M10 designation, and the southern segment from Columbus Circle to Battery Park City being renamed the M20. The two routes overlapped between Penn Station and Columbus Circle. Riders transferring between the M10 and the M20 were given an additional free transfer. Since the M10 no longer served Abingdon Square, westbound M14 service was increased during the afternoon.
Due to a budget crisis, M10 buses' southern terminus was truncated to Columbus Circle on June 27, 2010. On the same day, the M20 was extended to South Ferry, replacing the section of the M9 south of City Hall.:73, 74, 79 The truncation, which saved $1.1 million annually, resulted in a significant drop in ridership, with riders instead using the M7, M20 and the subway. M20 ridership increased with the truncation of M10 service and its extension to South Ferry.:B-38, 39, 46 On April 3, 2011, however, M10 service was restored to West 57th Street, with the final southbound stop at West 58th Street and Broadway and the first northbound stop at West 57th Street and Eighth Avenue.
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