With an anticipated redesign of the borough’s bus service coming in September, one Bronx elected official, along with a dozen transit advocates, are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to steer improvements in the right direction.
Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz joined advocates outside of the General Post Office building on East 149th Street to announce a list of demands the MTA should meet for its planned Bronx bus network redesign on Thursday, May 16.
“The first priority is better bus service,” Dinowitz said following the transit rally. “Buses are one of the only ways to travel east and west in the Bronx so it is very important for the service quality to be improved,” the Assemblyman mentioned.
The need for the MTA’s examination of Bronx bus routes stems in part from the 6.2 percent population increase in the borough since 2010, the agency said.
Since that time, there are now an estimated 675,000 Bronx bus riders every day waiting patiently for public transportation that has been plagued with lengthy delays on every one of its 57 Bronx routes, which the MTA faults on vehicular congestion.
With these Bronx buses moving at an average speed of 6.58 miles per hour, it’s almost pays to walk, rather than endure what the MTA confirmed as the second slowest moving bus service in the entire city. “Making sure that bus lanes aren’t being blocked by cars is a big part of it as is making improvements to curbs,” Dinowitz said.
He continued that better bus service could come in the form of shorter, connecting lines in lieu of the current system of lengthy single line trips.
One route that Dinowitz specifically had in mind to be split is the Bx10 bus, which runs from Riverdale to Norwood.
“Even though riders would have to transfer, there could be a reduction in wait time with a connecting line on that route,” he said.
Other initiatives that the assemblyman and activists are pushing for include: more direct routes to Manhattan and Queens from the Bronx, increasing frequent service for riders with non-traditional work hours, plus better accommodations and renovations at bus stops.
The MTA intends to release a draft plan of the redesign this month, aiming to increase bus speeds by 25 percent while also adding an additional 10 to 15 miles of bus lanes.
Following that release, the agency will be holding public scoping sessions in June to hear what Bronxites call for from the proposed new system of busses.
“More Bronx riders board the buses per hour than in any other borough, yet its buses are some of the most unreliable in the system,” said TransitCenter advocacy associate Ashley Pryce following the rally.
She looks forward to the proposed redesign, saying that it could become the “ambitious, large scale changes that will bring the faster, frequent, more reliable service that riders deserve.”
Dinowitz is also confident that the redesign will be a success.