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Via Garibaldi 8

BREAKING NEWS: MTA will delay cuts to express buses between Manhattan, Bronx

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BREAKING NEWS

MTA will delay cuts to express buses between Manhattan, Bronx

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., says plans to slash service have themselves been slashed

Posted January 16, 2020 

20200103-183452-MTAMeeting-2.jpg

The MTA apparently is no longer looking to cut express bus service between Manhattan and the Bronx, according to borough president Ruben Diaz Jr.

JULIUS CONSTANTINE MOTAL / FILE

By MICHAEL HINMAN and KIRSTYN BRENDLEN

By MICHAEL HINMAN & KIRSTYN BRENDLEN

It seems the fight by express bus riders to maintain after-hours service connecting the Bronx and Manhattan has ended in victory, at least for a little while.

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., told his Twitter followers he had just finished a phone call with New York City Transit president Andy Byford and was told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was abandoning plans to curtail express bus service.

The changes to routes like the BxM1, BxM2 and BxM18 were part of the MTA's overall bus redesign plan for the Bronx. Because of lower ridership off-peak — and the cost of running the larger coach buses through the city — the MTA had hoped to cut many of those routes midday and evenings, while rerouting two of the buses away from the stops Central Park at Mount Sinai Hospital and Museum Mile, and instead taking the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Those changes were slated to go into effect across the board in fall 2020. Now, according to the MTA, only changes to local bus service will be implemented then, while the MTA continues to work out the express bus plan. 

"We have postponed any changes to express bus service," said Tim Minton, communications director for the MTA. "Nothing is happening imminently, it is postponed."

He said Diaz was "absolutely right to take some pride in that accomplishment, which he pressed for, and we worked with him on."

But the idea of cutting express bus service is not completely dead. Minton promises the MTA will take another look at it for 2021.

"I am thrilled that the MTA has granted a reprieve of the drastic cuts to express bus service, which would have disrupted commutes and exacerbated the transportation difficulties faced by senior citizens, people with disabilities, and individuals in low-service areas," said Councilman Andrew Cohen, in a statement. "Bronx commuters throughout the district have expressed their frustration and dissatisfaction with the proposed service cuts, and there is no doubt that the MTA and President Andy Byford have heard our voices."

After the cuts were first announced, Cohen joined other electeds like Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to bring concerns about the plans from commuters to the MTA.

"Hard work and community organizing pays off," Dinowitz said, in a statement. "It is wonderful news to hear that the MTA has postponed their plans to cut express bus service. Our community is disproportionately reliant on express buses to access Manhattan — especially those along the northern and western borders of the Bronx who do not have nearby subways."

Vittorio Bugatti, a regular express bus rider from Riverdale who leads an advocacy group designed to protect the service, told The Riverdale Press that the MTA's announcement was "a start." Otherwise, he called it "great news," and thanked news outlets like The Press for their "ongoing coverage on what is such an important issue here in Riverdale, and throughout the Bronx."

Dan Padernacht, chair of CB8's traffic and transportation committee, said he wasn't surprised that the MTA decided to hold off on changes to the express bus.

"The MTA has embarked on the exhaustive process of redesigning bus service in our borough, and it has been responsive throughout the initiative," Padernacht said, in a statement. "We will continue to work with MTA to collaborate on positive changes and effectively communicate when we disagree with any proposals."

The MTA is planning a public hearing on the final Bronx bus redesign on Feb. 20 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, beginning at 6 p.m. The hearing will concentrate on changes to local routes, Minton said, since express changes have been shelved temporarily.

 Source: https://riverdalepress.com/stories/mta-cut-express-buses-bronx-manhattan-nyc,71004?fbclid=IwAR3GcGTFsLhrBq2ujpe1Fiy8_nZH-nocBPWe5VeZ3qojhe3pnCv6CMs2wQU

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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I would like to thank the Riverdale Press for their ongoing support to cover my advocacy group, as well other local media outlets in Queens and around the City. We plan to continue to push the Fair Fares Program for express buses: 

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/fair-fares-for-express-bus-riders.html?fbclid=IwAR34WRzmny6XN33TLVHbZisNuTC1BSwv3p3271Sc-yWylHuFkUGbz3GO-yA

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Major victory. I might just be a casual express bus rider, but even I know these express bus services are very much needed.

I wish you guys the same amount of success in Queens and Brooklyn as well.

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Does this mean that some of the route changes like the BxM18 via West Side & BxM10 via Parkchester will no longer be implemented?

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1 minute ago, Cait Sith said:

Does this mean that some of the route changes like the BxM18 via West Side & BxM10 via Parkchester will no longer be implemented?

Yes. They are shelving making any changes this year. I was just told by one of my contacts at the Riverdale Press via e-mail that they will revisit any changes in 2021 for implementation. I think they are trying to delay also to see what will happen with congestion pricing. With funding from congestion pricing, plus monies from the Outerborough Transit Fund, that will give the (MTA) a huge boost financially.

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5 minutes ago, paulrivera said:

Major victory. I might just be a casual express bus rider, but even I know these express bus services are very much needed.

I wish you guys the same amount of success in Queens and Brooklyn as well.

The fight in Queens is just starting. I have been in contact with some of the co-ops and condos. Le Havre is having a meeting tomorrow with Senator Liu on the proposed service cuts in Beechhurst. We will continue to have our express bus fliers circulated as well.

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Just now, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Yes. They are shelving making any changes this year. I was just told by one of my contacts at the Riverdale Press via e-mail that they will revisit any changes in 2021 for implementation. I think they are trying to delay also to see what will happen with congestion pricing. With funding from congestion pricing, plus monies from the Outerborough Transit Fund, that will give the (MTA) a huge boost financially.

Dang, I was legitimately interested in the BxM18 move. That one sounded like something that could've actually worked.

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Just now, Cait Sith said:

Dang, I was legitimately interested in the BxM18 move. That one sounded like something that could've actually worked.

It may still happen. The (MTA) will monitor ridership and go from there, which is something we’ve asked for, as ridership numbers generally increased per the 2018 express buses stats from the (MTA) . What we would like to see and asked the (MTA) in our November meeting is HOV lanes on the Henry Hudson Parkway should that move happen. As you know, that move would require cooperation with the DOT either way, so an HOV lane isn’t that outlandish. This was the “good news” that was stated by senior planner Mark Holmes some weeks ago on the live broadcast.

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Sorry this news story was just updated with my comments above. Lol Thanks to Michael Hinman over at the Riverdale Press.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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7 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It may still happen. The (MTA) will monitor ridership and go from there, which is something we’ve asked for, as ridership numbers generally increased per the 2018 express buses stats from the (MTA) . What we would like to see and asked the (MTA) in our November meeting is HOV lanes on the Henry Hudson Parkway should that move happen. As you know, that move would require cooperation with the DOT either way, so an HOV lane isn’t that outlandish. This was the “good news” that was stated by senior planner Mark Holmes some weeks ago on the live broadcast.

They're going to monitor ridership like a hawk. They should provide stats when citing low ridership.

HOV lanes on the Henry Hudson Parkway would be interesting actually, I guess they'd make the left lanes HOV only during rush hour?

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26 minutes ago, N6 Limited said:

They're going to monitor ridership like a hawk. They should provide stats when citing low ridership.

HOV lanes on the Henry Hudson Parkway would be interesting actually, I guess they'd make the left lanes HOV only during rush hour?

Well they are free to monitor it because their own 2018 stats show that ridership increased on a significant amount of the express bus lines, and that isn’t a coincidence. Since I started my advocacy group, I have been watching service like a hawk. We have had two meetings where Road Operations was involved, a small one and then a HUGE one with the DOT and senior planners in February, and the latest one with senior planners and customer service reps in November. We have seen a number of improvements in service reliability on a number of lines. That said, they still need to do a better job on Staten Island, and especially out of Ulmer Park with maintenance. Buses breaking down all over the place negatively impacting service.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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12 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

Well they are free to monitor it because their own 2018 stats show that ridership increased on a significant amount of the express bus lines, and that isn’t a coincidence. Since I started my advocacy group, I have been watching service like a hawk. We have had two meetings where Road Operations was involved, a small one and then a HUGE one with the DOT and senior planners in February, and the latest one with senior planners and customer service reps in November. We have seen a number of improvements in service reliability on a number of lines. That said, they still need to do a better job on Staten Island, and especially out of Ulmer Park with maintenance. Buses breaking down all over the place negatively impacting service.

The group is very influential I see. How do their traffic checkers work to determine a route's ridership? I've seen traffic checkers in the subway and on the LIRR, but I'm not sure how their bus operations work.

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1 hour ago, N6 Limited said:

The group is very influential I see. How do their traffic checkers work to determine a route's ridership? I've seen traffic checkers in the subway and on the LIRR, but I'm not sure how their bus operations work.

On the express buses, they just sit at the front of the bus and note how many people board at each stop and how many get off.

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14 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

They're going to monitor ridership like a hawk. They should provide stats when citing low ridership.

HOV lanes on the Henry Hudson Parkway would be interesting actually, I guess they'd make the left lanes HOV only during rush hour?

I don't know what the particulars would be, but I brought it up in our November meeting and the (MTA) said they would discuss it with the DOT. I suppose a study would be needed. We've also asked for an HOV lane on the Major Deegan. I met with my Assemblyman in December 2018 and we discussed the feasibility of that. The DOT supposedly agreed to study that as well. We shall see...

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Perfectly reasonable, a lot of traffic is just trying to get off at the Cross Bronx Expressway, as mentioned. If it was virtually guaranteed that Express Buses would have minimal delays, ridership would probably increase, they also have to make sure the fare itself isn't crazy.

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