Familiar inconveniences on a local express bus route have resulted in rider complaints.
The service on the BxM8 express bus, which travels from Pelham Bay to midtown Manhattan, has received criticism from local residents and passengers who depend on the bus for daily and weekly commutes.
According to the riders’ complaints, waiting for the BxM8 in bad weather can last anywhere from 30-45 minutes, nearly equaling the time it takes to commute to midtown Manhattan from Pelham Bay.
“They (the MTA) gives you one excuse – that a driver called out sick and no one took over his shift,” said Nicole Luciano, a Pelham Bay resident who relies on the bus on a daily basis.
“Are there not enough drivers to take over a route so people paying $6 and now $6.50 have to wait in terrible weather (with the exception of the last few weeks) for an express bus?”
“The prices of bus rides was just raised and there is no one to pick up his shift and cover his route? C’mon – what are we paying extra for,” said Nicole, referring to the recent MTA fare hikes.
Luciano said that she can recall numerous times when the bus was late and stated that there are times when the bus doesn’t show up at all. “This bus is very unpredictable,” she added.
Nicole recalled when the New York Bus Service, owned by Edward Arrigoni, owned the Manhattan-bound route from Pelham Bay. In 2005 it was bought by the MTA Bus Company.
She said the bus service was much more dependable and reliable before th MTA takeover.
“Once the buses were owned by the city, the service changed completed,” she said.
The MTA has acknowledged the delays, attributing the inconveniences mostly to construction and traffic, and stating that they will continue to keep an eye on the BxM8 despite the miscommunications between buses and passengers.
“The BxM8 route was recently affected by street milling from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by street construction that affected both northbound and southbound service around the Middletown Road and Bruckner Boulevard areas,” an MTA spokesperson said. “Numerous street demonstrations in Manhattan in April during evening peak hours also had an effect on express bus routes. Our bus service is largely dependent on road conditions such as traffic and construction, as well as weather conditions, but we will continue to monitor the route.”
Additional reporting contributed by Robert Wirsing.