A community organization is pressing the MTA for better bus service.
The City Island Civic Association is inviting the public to a meeting with MTA representatives on Thursday, February 22 where they will discuss ways to improve service on the Bx 29 bus that links City Island to the mainland.
The meeting is scheduled for the City Island Community Center, located at 190 Fordham Street, at 7 p.m., said John Doyle, CICA corresponding secretary.
It makes good on a MTA promise made in January 2016 to meet with community and builds on the success of another town hall in July 2015, he said.
The CICA has asked over a dozen times for this meeting since the MTA made an original commitment to come back in January 2016, he said.
“We have pushed them ever since to come back, and it has taken a long time to agree,” said Doyle.
The lack of 24/7 service affecting would-be riders in the early morning hours and a request that the MTA look into the feasibility of splitting the route, which City Island currently shares with Co-op City, into two routes will be on the agenda, he said.
This proposal is based on the belief that the bus is getting stuck in traffic on I-95 on the way to Co-op City, throwing it off schedule.
Philip Ortiz, who rides the bus two to three times a day, said he sometimes experiences delays of 30 to 45 minutes when catching the Bx 29 from Pelham Bay’s Amendola Plaza.
“There are a lot of times when it is really, really late,” said Ortiz.
The fact that the bus service shuts down between 1 and 5 a.m. on weekdays and 2 to 5 a.m. on weekends affected him personally when for 10 months he was due at his job at 4 a.m.
Ortiz said that he had to walk off City Island to catch a different bus to get to work on time during that time period.
The lack of early morning service is forcing people to take more expensive, and sometimes illegal, cabs as an alternative some complain.
The MTA expanded early morning service on the Bx 29 by one hour in July 2017, but the CICA would like to have hourly service during the bus’ current non operational hours.
Another rider, Johntae Moses, said that while service has improved, she still has to wait 30 minutes during the day and up to an hour in the evening, especially on weekends.
Moses would like to see countdown clocks with wait times, along with greater adherence to the schedule and more bus shelters at City Island stops.
The CICA has submitted 109 emails to the MTA containing over 184 complaints, as well as amassing 733 signatures on a petition calling for better Bx 29 service, according to the CICA.
Barbara Dolensek, the civic’s vice-president, said she is hoping for a large turnout at the meeting, as it is a very important issue.
A MTA spokeswoman confirmed the meeting with City Island riders, but did not give further specifics.