With all the talk of the “doomsday scenario” fare hikes & service cuts, the little stories within the big one get lost. One of those little stories is of how Bay Ridge would be different for a community of mainly seniors who depend on the B37. Susan Dominus of the New York Times looks into this:
New York is a city of speed walkers, but the bus stop on the corner of Third Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, has the look of a video clip of the city playing in slow motion. On Wednesday afternoon, a petite woman in sunglasses made her way with a cane to a friend who was already at the stop. An elderly woman with a walker also waited, breathing heavily, for the same bus. A heavy-set woman labored to get out of a livery cab that dropped her on the corner, then settled on the bench with a sigh. “It’s good to sit down,” she said, taking in the sun.
She knew she could be waiting awhile. The B37 bus doesn’t run with any great frequency down in Bay Ridge, but that’s fine for many of its riders: seniors with swollen legs, frail hearts or achy knees. Time they have in abundance; what many of them lack is mobility. “The subway’s out for me,” said Edith Cresci, 86, who was waiting at Third Avenue and 86th Street. “Up and down the stairs? It’s too much. I haven’t been to a subway in I don’t know how many years.”
Weeks earlier, Ms. Cresci, like so many of her neighbors, signed a petition protesting the service cuts that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted into effect Wednesday morning, including the elimination of the Third Avenue bus that she relies on so heavily. If the changes go into effect this summer, as scheduled, a neighborhood’s swath of seniors will be all but housebound, unable to make it two long blocks over to the next closest bus line, on Fifth Avenue.
Some 3,524 people ride the B37 bus on an average weekday — a pittance compared with the 56,723 souls that cram onto the M15, the city’s most crowded line, up and down the East Side of Manhattan; or the 53,231 on Brooklyn’s busiest bus, the B46 between Kings Plaza and Williamsburg; or even the 14,200 aboard the B63, which runs on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge.
Click here for the complete report.
Sometimes one can look at a map & get a good outline of service that might not be necessary due to the proximity of other transportation options. The B37 qualifies as one of those lines as it has subway service one block over on 4th Avenue for virtually its entire run. However when you read stories like this, it does remind you of how many truly can’t use the subway or it would not be a good idea for them to do so.
I admit that stories like this do make you wonder what routes are truly unnecessary & which are not. On the other hand, this would not be on the forefront of one’s mind if the MTA was not annually screwed in terms of funding. While a properly run agency should try to save money & eliminate redundant service, this should be looked at when you are trying to run an efficient operation, not out of dire necessity due to being in the midst of financial ruin.
Maybe the so called leaders in Albany can read stories like these & have it flip the switch in their head. They need to understand that this financial crisis is as real as it gets. Millions of riders will be forced to pay more for less & others might end up rarely going anywhere due to a lost of usable service. Does Albany really think this is the way things should be in 2009 or at anytime for that matter? Better yet, do they even care?
The final verdict will be on the table soon if they don’t come up with a way to rescue the MTA. Millions can only hope they do the right thing. I am doubtful……
xoxo Transit Blogger