An extension of the Bx24 bus, a long-lost link from Country Club and Spencer Estate to Crosby Avenue and Westchester Square, began on Sunday, April 8.
The Bx24 bus, which had been re-configured once before after it replaced the Bx14 line in 2010, has now added additional stops along Westchester Avenue that will bring shoppers and commuters to Westchester Square with one-fare and no transfers.
The extension partially restores an MTA service reduction that went into effect on June 27, 2010 that cut the Bx14 route.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Senator Jeff Klein were joined by Country Club Civic Association president Marcia Pavlica, Spencer Estate Civic Association president Al Carena and vice president Carmela Avellino, and merchant leader John Bonizio at the Bx24 bus stop in Westchester Square to celebrate the restoration of a one-fare zone for local residents on Monday, April 9.
“I think that the MTA has finally undone one of their classic missteps,” Vacca said. “They made a serious error when they isolated Country Club riders and made them take two buses to get to Crosby and Buhre avenues and Westchester Square. The MTA finally came to realize that cutting these riders off in Country Club produced no savings.”
The change forced riders, many of whom are elderly, to transfer to buses at Pelham Bay station, which they did not have to do before the MTA’s reductions took effect in 2010, Vacca said.
“I worked very hard to convince the MTA, and let them know that we were going to fight until this route was restored, and that we were not going away,” Vacca said.
Senator Klein held a transportation town-hall meeting in Country Club in 2011 where residents told MTA officials that they would like to see a one-fare-zone linking Country Club with Crosby Avenue and Westchester Square.
“This had been an ongoing problem and I hosted a community forum in Country Club where we had to bring the MTA in kicking and screaming to get them to listen to reason and hear how important extending the Bx24 was to the community,” Klein said.
The additional bus line should be a “win-win” for both merchants and residents of Country Club and Spencer Estate, Klein said. Klein also said he was glad to work with Vacca and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto in getting the MTA to take action.
Since the Bx14 line used to connect Country Club and Parkchester, it can only be hoped that eventually the Bx24 line is extended further on Westchester Avenue, but the link to Westchester Square was something that members of the Country Club Civic Association wanted as an additional transportation option, Pavlica stated.
Especially with the recent approval of the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, an additional bus connect to Westchester Square should be helpful, Carena stated.
Kearns said that CB 10 believes the link will enhance local business conditions.
“Community Board 10 was proud to work with our elected officials so that the people of Country Club will have a one-seat ride to Crosby Avenue and Westchester Square,” Kearns said.