Not All Cheers: the MTA Still Receiving Some Jeers
When the MTA announced in July that it would be restoring some bus and train service, creating new bus lines and permanently extending the G train extension, straphangers rejoiced.
The MTA said it will roll out the services over the next months, at an added cost of $29.5 million per year.
But of course not every cut that came down in 2010 will be restored. So while the MTA creates a whole new bus line for people living in the glossy towers along the Williamsburg waterfront, another for the burgeoning “Tech Triangle” in Brooklyn that will connect Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the Navy Yard, another that will connect the far West Side neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen and the West Village and two more in East New York, Brooklyn, and Western Hunts Point in the Bronx, there are still New Yorkers who say they are under-served.
MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz stressed that the cuts in 2010 totaled $93 million, so clearly there was no way to reinstate all cut service.
“Keep in mind that restoring the 2010 cuts was not the sole premise behind these new investments,” wrote Ortiz in an email. “First, we are responding to significant increases in ridership, particularly during weekends, evenings and weekday off-peak periods. Second, we are filling gaps in service coverage in certain areas of the City and at certain times of the day. Third, we will begin to serve developing neighborhoods that have been underserved as the City continues its robust population growth.”
MetroFocus looks at some of the MTA services that are missed by riders in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Let us know in the comments area, below, if there are other areas that need better, or more, mass transit.
The G Train in Queens
The G train was extended five stops deeper into Brooklyn, to Church Avenue, when the Culver Viaduct rehabilitation began back in 2009. That project shut down the Smith and Ninth Street station in Carroll Gardens and the Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street station in Park Slope (Smith and Ninth is still closed). The extension proved to be well worth it for many riders, and many fought the MTA to make the extension permanent.
But what about the G train in Queens? The train originally extended all the way to Forest Hills, but in 1997 service ended at Court Square in Long Island City on evenings, nights and weekends. In 2010, all trains stopped at Court Square, reducing the train to just two Queens stops.
An editorial in the Queens Tribune calls for the restoration of the Queens stops on the G line.
“As more and more people leave Manhattan for Brooklyn and Queens, the fact that there is not a reliable and quick subway options for residents traveling between the two boroughs is a huge oversight. If you don’t have a car, getting from Sunnyside to, say, Downtown Brooklyn — or vice versa — requires a complicated mixture of buses and trains and likely will take you through Manhattan.”
The W Train and the QM22 Bus in Queens
Residents in Astoria, Queens, say they need the QM22 bus and the W train to be restored. Both were wiped out in 2010 during the MTAs massive service cuts, and both were skipped during this year’s restoration.
In late July, residents and elected officials including State Senator Michael Gianaris and Democratic District Leader Costa Constantinides called on the MTA to restore the cuts.
“At a time when the MTA found a way to restore service, to somehow leave out this neighborhood is unacceptable to many of us,” said Gianaris. “There is no reason for one part of Queens to be left in the dark while the rest of the city sees restorations to bus service.”
But the QM22, according to Ortiz, was eliminated because the number of riders, on average 16 riders a day, did not justify keeping it in service.
The B77 and the B71 in Brooklyn
In 2010, the B77 and the B71 were both cut. The B77 connected Red Hook, an historically transit-starved neighborhood, with Park Slope, and allowed residents of Red Hook to connect with subway stations along the way. The B71 ran along Union Street from the Columbia Street Waterfront District though Cobble Hill and Park Slope and eventually all the way into Crown Heights. While neither is set to return, the MTA has extended the B57, which runs along Court Street, into Red Hook, and should relieve over-crowding on the only bus that serves the area: the B61.
State Assemblywoman Joan Millman launched a petition on the website Change.org calling on the MTA to bring the bus back.
In a comment on the petition, Chris Owens, a Democratic state committee member in the 52nd Assembly District said he used the B71 for personal and work-related reasons.
“Its absence is a major inconvenience and hardship for many,” wrote Owens.
The Bx26 and Bx28 in the Bronx
Residents of Co-op City, located on the northern edge of the Bronx, rallied this week for restoration of bus service. In 2010, service on the Bx26 and Bx28 was rerouted, which some residents of the sprawling housing complex said increased their wait times.
According to an article in the Bronx Times, because of the rerouting, residents in sections 1 through 4 of the sprawling housing complex had to pay double fares.
“It is very unjust for members of our community to pay not $5 to go to work, but $10, and in some cases $15 dollars a day, for the past two years,” said Section 5 resident Sebastian Ulanga, co-chair of the Co-op City Coalition Against MTA Cuts.
But MTA spokesperson Ortiz said four additional buses continue to serve Co-op City residents in sections 1 through 4, at the cost of one ride, and that the MTA has been circulating brochures among riders in the area to make sure they know their transit options.
State Assemblyman Michael Benedetto said at the rally that he’d had conversations with MTA chairman Joseph Lohta, who “seemed” open to finding a way to improve service for Co-op City.
“The entire development of Co-op City was promised when this development went up that they would have superb transportation alternatives,” said Benedetto. “And the cuts that were announced years ago were a betrayal of the trust that the people of Co-op City had in the MTA and the municipality of the city of New York.”
Correction: This article was amended to more accurately reflect the bus changes in Co-op City. Parts of the Bx26 and Bx28 were not eliminated, they were rerouted. Additionally, a fact provided by MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz about why the QM22 bus was eliminated was also added.