The Bx 24 bus will soon service the Hutchinson Metro Center directly.
A transit committee at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved expanded Bx 24 bus service on Monday, July 28.
The plan will see the bus line continue on from Westchester Square, where it currently ends, and going directly to service the Hutchinson Metro Center, the soon-to-be-completed 911 Call Center, and the location of the Marriott hotel and LA Fitness. These are all along Marconi Street, off Waters Place.
The bus’ extension to the Hutch Metro Center is scheduled to go into effect on Sunday, August 31, said a spokesman for Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Vacca has long advocated for the change.
“For some time now, due to the growth that the Hutch Metro Center has experienced, I’ve asked the MTA to provide access to mass-transit users,” said Vacca. “Right now there is no way to reach the center by public transportation, and residents are forced to take a cab or drive their own cars.”
He added: “This facility not only houses many city and medical offices, but Mercy College and soon a Marriott hotel as well. Making this location accessible is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, and I am happy that the MTA has acted on my request.”
The new bus service will certainly complement the Metro Center’s existing private shuttle service to and from Westchester Square, which runs every 20 minutes, and has been in operation since January 2004, said Jospeh Kelleher, president of Simone Metro Properties, which runs the Metro Center.
The development has been self-sufficient with its shuttle service, but Simone has been advocating probably just as long as to get MTA bus service to the Metro Center, he said.
Kelleher thanked Vacca, the past chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, saying that the councilman had worked “tirelessly” to get bus service for the complex.
“Having that bus now coming in here is a really big benefit for the visitors, as well as our employees who work here at the Hutchinson Metro Center,” said Kelleher. “The bus will operate on a 30-minute schedule and have extended hours, and I believe the hours of operation extend way into the evening, if not all night.”
By contrast, the Metro Center shuttle operates between 7 am to 7 pm, he said.
“Having the city bus will give people coming and going other options,” said Kelleher of the Bx 24, which services Country Club, Pelham Bay, and Westchester Square.
The bus has the advantage of stopping at two major train stations: Pelham Bay Park station and Westchester Square station along the IRT #6.
Having the Bx 24 come directly into the center also will benefit senior citizens who come there for doctor’s visits, said Kelleher. It will also benefit Mercy College’s students, many of whom are often at the center late at night.
“Opening up the infrastructure and having improved transportation in the area is a plus for everyone,” he added. “It is a plus for the visitors coming to the site, it is a big plus for the employees who work here, and it is a big plus to connect us with the other businesses in the corridor that bus travels.”