Bus cuts a concern for commuters using wheelchairs
Anthony Trocchia boards the B39 bus which travels over the Williamsburg Bridge and is his only accessible route to Manhattan. (Deidre Schoo)
For some commuters who use wheelchairs, the service cuts feel like a jail sentence.
Two bus lines crossing from Brooklyn into Manhattan are being eliminated, stranding riders trying to get to the city.
“This is an impending fiasco. I don’t understand the logic,” Anthony Trocchia, 40, who relies on the B39 to travel between Williamsburg and Manhattan in his wheelchair.
In June, the cash-strapped MTA is eliminating the B39 crossing over the Williamsburg Bridge and the B51 spanning the Manhattan Bridge to save $1.9 million The MTA advises the 1,180 weekday B39 riders to take the J/M/Z line instead, but none of the J/Z stations are handicapped-accessible in Manhattan.
“It’s devastating. They really didn’t think about us,” said Mildred Escobar, 40, a Brooklyn rider who uses a wheelchair and takes the B51 to work.
However, when the MTA merges the V line with the M in June, the new route will run through Williamsburg to many Manhattan stations that have elevators, NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said. The M train will also be faster than the B39, which suffers from chronic delays from “extremely poor traffic conditions,” he said.
Still, many wheelchair users fear the subway, as the platform gap is often uneven and getting out of the doors in time can be difficult, said Trocchia, who never rides the train.
“If you’re disabled, I guess you don’t matter,” he said.