Brooklyn Pols Want Express Bus Service Restored

Many riders & elected officials bemoaned the MTA’s initial announcement of massive service cuts due to budget woes. When the cuts went into effect & reality set in, those complaints became louder. Many of the complaints centered around bus service which took the biggest blow from the MTA’s service ax.

Express bus service was especially hit hard in the outer boroughs as a number of lines either saw reductions or were completely eliminated. Some officials have expressed outrage about service cuts but have done little else. Two Brooklyn officials however dealt with it in a different manner as they took their constituents complaints directly to the MTA.

Harold Egeln of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle has more on the actions of State Sen. Marty Golden & Councilman Vincent Gentile

Complaints from Bay Ridge and southern Brooklyn express bus riders about longer-than-usual commutes have flooded the offices of Bay Ridge elected officials, who have taken their case right to MTA headquarters in Manhattan.

“Since these cuts [this June] have gone into effect, the commute of many, young and old, seniors and the disabled, has been increased by more than 40 minutes. And for some by one hour, with overcrowded-, and standing-room only conditions,” state Sen. Marty Golden (Republican/Conservative-Southern Brooklyn) told the MTA Transit Committee.

The meeting was held on Monday at MTA headquarters in Manhattan. Of the cuts, Golden said, “Long lines at bus stops, increased travel time, a lesser quality of life and commute — that’s how the MTA is ‘going your way?’”

Both Golden and Councilman Vincent Gentile (Democrat-Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights) testified for their cause at the meeting. They emphatically urged full restoration of X37 and X38 service to Midtown Manhattan, and called the MTA proposal for some X27 and X28 buses to bypass lower Manhattan during the rush hours a poor substitute for needed changes.

“Implementing your proposal as it stands is nothing more than putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,” said Gentile, adding that he appreciated the MTA recognition of a problem. “Thank you for acknowledging that damage has been done, but we need more and we need it soon.”

Golden, instrumental in securing express bus service years ago, made his constituents’ voice clear. He told the committee that riders calling their commutes “atrocious” and “harrowing” continually bombard his office with complaints.

Click here for the complete report.

I must say it is a change of pace to see elected officials actually doing something for their constituents in terms of mass transit. Most times it is the rah rah complaining for the cameras or print but no legitimate dialog with the MTA. However with saying that, I can’t agree with their assessment that service should be restored to pre-cut levels.

I do feel for the couple of thousand riders who have undergone a tougher commute, it still is just a couple of thousand. In these tough economic times, the MTA has to continue to find ways to cutback on costs where legitimately possible. It is a tough sell to justify the continuing bleeding of cash to operate service that such a small percentage of people use.

While we all want our commutes to be as easy & direct as possible for our own selfish reasons, we must accept that decisions have to be made for the greater good & not just a select few. If the MTA can operate some sort of service that would not be constituted as a waste, they should. However if it can not be done, these riders just have to understand why the tough choices were made.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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