Country Club not blown away by Bx24 approval

The Bx24 has been approved by the MTA, but not everyone is happy with the new route.

The Bx24 will run between Pelham Bay Station and Country Club via Bruckner Boulevard. It will essentially follow the loop that the original Bx14 used to take, however, it will end at Pelham Bay Station and not travel on Westchester Avenue to Crosby Avenue or Westchester Square.

Residents worry this will mean longer rides home for travelers.

“It’s just going to be a big circle, but it’s an incomplete circle in regards to the rider,” said Marcia Pavlica, of the Country Club Civic Association. “Some people are going to have to go all the way around the mulberry bush to go home.”

Another problem is that the buses will start at 6 a.m., and will only run every 30 minutes. Because it will be a loop, no street will have two-way service along the route.

Having bus service to the area is a big improvement over earlier MTA proposals. About nine months ago the authority proposed shuttering the Bx14, which would have left riders in Country Club and Spencer Estate stranded.

“It’s definitely a mixed bag,” said councilman and transportation committee chair Jimmy Vacca. “I would have like to see it go beyond Pelham Bay, at least to Burhe Avenue.”

Vacca added that, although not ideal, Pelham Bay is an acceptable end point because it gives access to north- and south-bound busses, and offers seniors and the disabled access to a train station with escalators and elevators.

The route changes are part of the citywide cutbacks the MTA is instituting to help the reign in millions in debt that it continues to accumulate. Fee hikes and toll increases, among other things, are also part of the plan to close the budget gap.

When the MTA began proposing changes to the bus routes about nine months ago, it caused a citywide uproar.

“Once the MTA opened Pandora’s Box and tampered with service here, they ended up making many people unhappy,” Vacca said. “We have been successful in getting a significant concessions from them by getting the Bx8 route partially restored and by having them keep service in Country Club.”

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