The proposed cuts the MTA was planning for Bronx express lines had Manhattan-bound commuters on the edge of their seat.
However, express bus riders can now breathe a bit easier now that the MTA’s Bronx Bus Redesign plan no longer includes cuts in service for now.
On Thursday, January 16, the MTA said it will not implement any changes to express bus service and will revisit the issue later this year for 2021.
A hearing will be held Thursday, February 20, to review the final draft of the Bronx Bus Redesign and proposed changes to local bus routes.
Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. commended MTA president Andy Byford for delaying the cuts.
“As always, thank you @NYCTSubway and my friend Andy Byford for listening to the concerns of Bronx commuters,” Diaz said on Twitter.
In 2019, the MTA proposed severe express bus cuts, including the elimination of many local stops.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Councilman Andrew Cohen, and Congressmen Eliot Engel and Adriano Espaillat penned a letter to the MTA in November, decrying the west Bronx cuts.
“With the implementation of congestion pricing, we should not be reducing service – we should be expanding it,” they said in the letter. “We understand the fiscal realities of express bus service and that the operating budget is already constrained even without the necessary increased investment in outer-borough bus service,” they said in the letter. “However, mass transit, by its very nature, is a subsidy to encourage people to not drive into our city’s densest areas.”
Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson also expressed her pleasure with this decision as well. The original plans called for rerouting he BxM4 line, but now residents can rest easy.
“Grateful to hear this and especially saving the BxM4 express bus that allows our residents on the Concourse to get to/from Manhattan! Thank You!” Gibson said on Twitter.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto announced the express bus news to Co-op City residents.
Co-op City residents live in a transit desert and rely heavily on the express buses, he said.
Rodney Saunders, the second vice president of the RiverBay Board of Directors in Co-op City is quite pleased the MTA listened to the residents.
Co-op City, as well as Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay, were about to be hit hard with off-peak service reductions.
Early morning buses heading uptown from Manhattan and Manhattan-bound runs after early afternoon were being eliminated and weekend buses were cut back severely.
For instance, under the initial express bus plan, the last downtown-bound express bus service from the east Bronx ended at 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday .
On weekdays, runs that carried fewer than 10 passengers on average were also targeted for cutailment.
Also, there were going to be less Bronx express stops in an attempt to speed up the service.
The MTA planned to save millions by making the proposed reductions.
The MTA’s express bus cuts were met with a huge outcry. By postponing the changes the MTA will give the ridership a chance to comment before implementing a final plan.