As New Yorkers are getting vaccinated and the city is slowly reopening, Bronx leaders are advocating for people to take the bus as they patronize businesses working to recover from the pandemic.
The MTA is focused on two Business Improvement Districts: Westchester Square and Throggs Neck.
On May 11, MTA Bus Company President Craig Cipriano, Lisa Sorin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and the Executive Directors of the two BIDs, Yasmin Cruz and Bobby Jaen spoke about the affordability, convenience and reliability of buses as a means of getting around the borough and how increased ridership to visit stores can help boost the economy.
The event came on the heels of recent news that ridership across the transit system has risen to its highest levels since front-door boarding resumed in August 2020, with more than 1.2 million bus riders utilizing the system last Thursday. Ridership is expected to grow further as vaccination rates rise and COVID positive rates steeply decline.
“It’s time to get New York moving,” Cipriano exclaimed. “I’m confident together we can play the role of heroes and bring the Bronx back. Despite changes of the last year Bronxites have continued to take the bus.
With 45 new electric buses coming to the city by the end of the year, Cipriano urged more people to take a bus.
Jaen praised the MTA and the business owners for standing tall during the past year.
“The best experience a person can have is meeting people like Throggs Neck and Westchester Square merchants who through everything stayed open and serviced the people that did come in,” Jaen said. “I’m very proud of the merchants.”
Sorin echoed his sentiments.
“It always is about being able to know that you have a safe, productive way of traveling and the bus system has never given up on us, and it makes it that much easier,” she said. “The MTA stepped up with their buses and their cleaning protocols and it made it very, very easy and comfortable for us to come back and use public transportation.”
In the last year alone, the MTA has worked aggressively to improve bus service in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan.
Last July, offset bus lanes were installed on 149St for riders on the BX2, Bx4, Bx17 and Bx19. This installation work has been successful in speeding up trip times in population-rich parts of the borough.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced DOT will build more bus lanes, bus boarding islands, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian safety improvements throughout the borough. Together, these Bronx projects will serve 175,000 bus riders a day.
- University Avenue Transformation: DOT will install dedicated bus lanes along University Avenue from Washington Bridge to Kingsbridge Road, including six new bus boarding islands. New protected bike lanes will also be put in along University Avenue from at least Washington Bridge to Tremont Avenue.
- Re-envisioning Fordham Road Select Bus Service: In 2010, Fordham Road was the site of New York City’s first Select Bus Service route. Now, DOT will renovate the street through an inclusive outreach plan with businesses, community leaders and families. The redesign of the street will follow as DOT listens closely to the needs of this community.
- New Bus Lanes along Story Avenue and Gun Hill Road, along with changes to improve bus circulation near the Pelham Bay Park subway station, the terminus of the 6 train that also serves as closest stop to City Island. Changes here will eliminate the indirect bus routing to the station, saving transferring bus riders up to two minutes per trip.
- New pedestrian islands on Webster Ave and 149th Street to ensure safe crossings to and from bus stops.