Residents of west Bronx neighborhoods came out in the mass Monday, November 18 to protest express bus schedule changes proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
MTA officials along with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman Andrew Cohen addressed a concerned crowd of 400 to 500 at the Riverdale Temple on 4545 Independence Street.
The MTA released The Bronx Bus Network Redesign after analyzing extensive data from the past couple years. The most recent collection of data was acquired through Metrocard registration during the months of May and June 2019, according to MTA officials.
“The MTA has assured me that although they are using the phrase ‘final plan’ that there is still opportunity to make changes.” Dinowitz said in a press release. “They have also assured me that even after the implementation of the redesign next year, they are able to continue making changes where necessary.”
The crowd, mostly comprised of aging Riverdale residents, were primarily concerned with the service cuts to the BxM1 and the BxM2 express buses that run from Riverdale to Manhattan throughout the day.
Additional cuts will be made to Bx4A, Bx6, Bx8, Bx11, Bx15, Bx18, Bx24, Bx26, Bx28, Bx29, Bx30, Bx34, Bx35, Bx36, Bx38, Bx40, Bx42, Q50 LTD, M100, M125, BxM2, BxM4, BxM5 (formerly BxM11), BxM8, BxM10, BxM17, and BxM18 lines, and additional buses on the Bx13, Bx22, Bx23, and Bx41.
“The main thing I wanted tonight was the MTA to see a massive turnout of people in our district and they saw it.” Dinowitz said.
MTA officials said the reasoning behind the earlier cut off times for the express buses were the results of low ridership averages during off-peak hours.
The recent studies, conducted by the MTA, found an average of four people riding the BxM1 southbound during the off-peak afternoon hours on weekdays. Similar averages were shown on weekends and for other bus routes.
However, reducing the southbound express buses will directly affect those who don’t have a normal 9 to 5 job and those interested in spending the evening downtown to enjoy a movie or have dinner, among other activities.
MTA chief officer of Operations Planning, Mark Holmes, responded to those concerned about bus routes to Mount Sinai.
“Once again, I want to reiterate that we are aware of the Mount Sinai issue and we are actively looking at alternative services to Mount Sinai,” Holmes said.
Riverdale resident Jane Fletcher received a tremendous, heartfelt reaction after stating why the afternoon bus cuts would affect her.
“I was recently widowed and now I travel on my own and if I couldn’t get down to the theater or a museum or see a friend in Manhattan, I wouldn’t be doing it,” Fletcher said.
Express bus routes in Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay and Co-op City are also slated for major cuts in service during off-peak hours.
According to the MTA, the final express bus plan won’t be implimented until late spring, allowing ample time to make tweeks to the plan.