Residents of Parkchester are not giving up on getting their Bx14 bus back.
Service on the route, which once ran on Metropolitan Avenue from Hugh Grant Circle to Castle Hill Avenue through the housing complex, was discontinued as part of a service reduction plan put into effect in June.
In an effort to save $1.5 million the MTA discontinued the Bx14 completely, and rerouted the Bx5 and Bx8.
Now, the MTA has announced the creation of a Bx24 bus that will follow almost the exact same route as the old Bx14. However, it still will not go to Parkchester.
Residents joined Assemblyman Peter Rivera, 76th Assembly District Democratic leader Ken Padilla, Democratic State Committeeman Ronald Savage, and community advocate for the disabled Danny Porro in calling on the MTA to return Bx14 bus service to the Parkchester area during the evening rush hour on Friday, September 10.
The bus is especially important to the disabled, senior citizens, and students, said Assemblyman Rivera.
“This rally is the beginning of a petition campaign that we are starting to get the MTA to listen to the Parkchester community,” Rivera said. “The MTA is infamous for cutting services, but reluctant and slow to respond to a community that says it needs this bus service. This is a fight we plan to continue as we work on the budget in the state legislature.”
Francisco Nazario, vice president of the board of directors for the Parkchester South Condominium, said that the loss of the Bx14 bus, spanning the length of Parkchester, has had a ripple effect on transportation and overall quality-of-life in the development.
“We are constantly getting phone calls from people who used the Bx14 bus to access medical facilities and visit family,” Nazario said. “They are now reliant on cab rides to get where they are going.”
Nazario noted there were a larger number of Access-A-Ride vehicles on Metropolitan Avenue than in the past, and attributed it to loss of the Bx14.
It has inconvenienced a large number of residents who would take the bus to cross from one side of Parkchester to the other.
“The amount of people using Access-A-Ride has increased; seniors are using it to take the place of the Bx14,” said Harry Brown, a resident of Parkchester for 34 years. “There are no savings on fuel this way.”
Brown said that the community fought to get the Bx14. He feels that the MTA is taking Parkchester backwards instead of forwards.
Ruben Rios, who has lived in Parkchester for 34 years, said that the bus was a godsend for people with health issues, like him.
“They are spending millions of dollars to renovate the Parkchester train station, and it does not even have an elevator for the disabled,” Rios said. “At least each bus had a hydraulic lift.”