Nabes react to MTA bus cuts

The community raised its concerns with the MTA. It has complained. It has protested. But the MTA still announced that it plans to cut bus service on the Bx14 and Bx8 lines starting Sunday, June 28, with cuts to City Island’s express bus service to go into effect by September.

The vote to institute subway and express bus service fare increases, and to scale back mass transit services that include the elimination of the Bx14 line, the BxM7B express bus to City Island, and Sunday service on the Bx8 line took place on March 25.

The service cuts will completely cut off Spencer Estate and Country Club from the rest of the borough and stop churchgoing and shopping for Locust Point and Edgewater Park on Sundays. The MTA’s planned cuts have drawn protest from all elected officials in the area, including Councilman Jimmy Vacca.

“In addition to fare increases, tens of thousands of taxpaying New Yorkers – whether Country Club parents sending their children to school or Edgewater Park families heading to church on Sunday – will witness the total elimination of all mass transit service to their communities,” Vacca said. “Once again, our middle class, outer-borough communities – already woefully underserved by the MTA – are being asked to shoulder the burden in these tough times.”

Vacca said that the MTA’s cost saving measures would ultimately leave residents either stranded, or paying more for less mass transit service.

“The Bx14 bus is not an extra in our lives, it is a necessity,” said Marcia Pavlica, president of the Country Club Civic Association. “It is the one thing that ties us to the community of Pelham Bay. The seniors who no longer drive use the Bx14 to go food shopping and to doctor’s appointments.”

Pavlica added: “Why would anyone buy a house in a community that does not have adequate public transportation?”

Pavlica said that she was really bugged by the fact that Westchester’s Bee Line Bus Service will still drop off commuters at Pelham Bay station, while those living in Country Club and Spencer Estate will have to walk about a mile to get to the station. She also wondered why the MTA didn’t simply cut back the number of runs per hour, rather than cutting off all service on the Bx14.

“The Bx14 is the only the bus we have out here,” said Ann Jack, a Community Board 10 member from Spencer Estate. “My husband and I use the bus to go to the bank, church, the post office, and shopping. It would be close to a one-mile walk to Pelham Bay. These service cuts would really be terrible.”

Unless the MTA is able to come up with an alternate source of revenue to save the bus lines, it appears service will be cut starting on June 28. Some are still holding out hope for a last minute negotiation to save all of the affected lines.

“It would be unacceptable for the MTA to leave this area of the Bronx underserved,” said John Walker of the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative. “I hope that there is an 11th hour reprieve.”

Bx14, Bx8, MTA

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