The Bx4 and Bx34 buses dodged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority axe on Friday, January 22. The Bx14 bus remains in danger but the MTA has plans to keep Country Club and Spencer Estate linked to the rest of the Bronx.
On January 22, the MTA announced a revised and somewhat less catastrophic list of service cuts designed to address its $400 million budget gap. The MTA based its original list, released in December 2009, on proposed cuts proposed in 2008. New MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder reviewed the cuts and has spared several Bronx buses.
The Bx4, which runs up Westchester Avenue and was slated for elimination in December, has been restored. The Bx34, which runs from Woodlawn to Fordham Road and was also slated for elimination in December, is set to lose only overnight service.
The Bx14, which links isolated Country Club and Spencer Estate to the public transportation grid, wasn’t restored. But the MTA plans to extend the Bx8 bus as a substitute.
The MTA also announced that it would hold eight public hearings on the proposed cuts. The Bronx hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 at the Paradise Theater on the Grand Concourse at E. 187th Street.
Councilman James Vacca, appointed to chair the City Council’s transportation committee only a day ago, has heard that the MTA also plans to extend the Bx5 bus to compensate for elimination of the Bx14.
Why extend the Bx8 and Bx5? Because Walder “recognized that we were not crying wolf” and because he “recognized that it would be a mistake” to isolate Country Club and Spencer Estate, Vacca said.
But Vacca, who opposed the December 2009 cuts, has yet to stamp his approval on the revised proposals, which “raise a lot of questions,” he said. Where would the MTA install bus stops for the extended Bx8 and Bx5? How would the change affect straphangers who ride the Bx8 and Bx5 already?
“We will continue our fight,” he said. “There are still cuts which do not have to be made.”
Vacca has hammered out an alternate rescue for the MTA. He and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn think Walder can use federal stimulus funds and limit capital expenses to close the budget gap.
Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@c
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