CI group requests dedicated bus line

Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

A local civic group is proposing changes to the Bx 29 bus route that it believes will provide riders better service.

The City Island Civic Association wrote the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday, January 24 regarding service problems on the Bx 29 route.

These include long-standing concerns like lack of early morning bus service that strands some commuters and buses bound for City Island that are misidentified with Co-op City signage.

The civic group is now calling for the agency to examine splitting the route into two separate lines: one servicing Co-op City and Bay Plaza, the other the island.

Currently the bus runs between both communities.

“We believe that doing so would allow regular and more consistent service for both neighborhoods, reduce delays for City Islanders, and alleviate the chances of buses arriving with incorrect bus signage,”stated the CICA letter.

Splitting the route in two would help commuters to City Island avoid delays when more people take the bus to do holiday shopping at Co-op City malls, said John Doyle, a CICA board member.

He added, conversely, having separate routes would help straphangers traveling to Co-op City avoid delays on the Bx 29 caused by summer traffic snarls on City Island.

Many of the riders have a sense of frustration about the quality of service, said Doyle.

Approximately 523 Bx 29 riders have signed a change.org petition calling for expanding service hours on the bus, which currently does not run from 1 to 5 a.m., and for better reliability.

There was a public meeting between Bx 29 riders and MTA at the City Island Nautical Museum in July 2015, but the CICA is still waiting for release of the collected data concerning the bus lines and to learn what changes MTA could make, according to CICA board members.

“People have been very patient with the MTA for over a year, waiting for them to get back to us on expanding the service,” said Doyle. “While we have an ongoing dialogue with MTA employees, we have not seen an improvement in service or in extending the times of the route.”

A Bx 29 rider stated that buses in the morning are frequently two to three minutes late, which sometimes causes her to miss a connecting express bus to Manhattan.

The evening commute is even worse, the rider said, with the Bx 29 to City Island often showing up early at Amendola Plaza and leaving before the scheduled time.

“The afternoon (and) evening bus from Pelham Bay to City Island is so inconsistent,” she stated, adding when the bus is missed she sometimes spends between $10 to $15 for a cab to the island.

The timing along the route is terrible based on reports that Barbara Dolensek, another CICA board member, has received.

In addition, she said, she has received several reliable reports that in some cases bus drivers are telling riders that the “trip is on them” or that the MetroCard swipe machine that collects fares on the bus is broken.

An MTA representative was not immediately available for comment as of press time.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
The service on the Bx29 bus to and from City Island is a subject of much interest for the City Island Civic Association.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

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