Concerned transit riders got to meet face-to-face with Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials about long-standing issues regarding the Bx29 bus.
A town hall-style meeting was held on Thursday, July 30 at the City Island Nautical Museum with 30 to 40 straphangers unhappy about the service and reliability of the Bx29 bus.
According to attendees, some of the issues discussed were very late buses and in certain cases, buses skipping stops along the route, which encompasses Co-op City, City Island and Pelham Bay.
City Island Civic Association hosted with the event, and board members of the CICA and also of the City Island Chamber of Commerce were present.
“We had a dialogue with MTA,” said John Doyle, CICA corresponding secretary. “We brought them some specific complaints and are waiting to see some of the data.”
Problems with the Bx29 were brought to the forefront by a group of younger bus riders who connected with the CICA through a posting on its Facebook page, explained Doyle.
According to information he received from an MTA official, an evening dispatcher for the route has been reassigned.
Complaints about the bus line, which frequently does not have service in the early morning hours, have been percolating for years.
Restaurant workers on the island are sometimes left stranded on the island if they work a late-shift, he said.
Meeting attendee and longtime Bx29 rider Florence Ann Nielson said that she uses the bus in Co-op City on her way home from work and from City Island on the way to her job in Manhattan.
Service has deteriorated in the past year or more, said Nielson, who has ridden the Bx29 for about 16 years.
When she has attempted to board the bus in Co-op City after exiting an express bus she takes there, bus drivers will skip stops on the route, she said.
An MTA spokeswoman said in a statement that officials attended the meeting to ensure the community that the agency is very serious about making sure that residents are heard.
“Service, reliability and quality of the Bx29 route have been adversely affected by road conditions such as heavy traffic along the route,” stated the MTA spokeswoman.
But the heavy traffic on City Island Road and City Island Avenue on Friday evenings and weekends cannot account for all the delays, Nielson said.
“When it is a Tuesday night, and there is no traffic, there should not be issues like this,” said Nielson, adding that the missed bus connections along the route in Co-op City are adding time to her evening commute with regard to traffic conditions. Sometimes, in the past, buses have also been late in the mornings, she added.
The MTA will review its progress in improving Bx29 service in the fall, said Doyle.