Members of Straphangers Campaign, Riders Alliance and other transit advocacy groups rallied in the Bronx on Tuesday in favor of more funding for Bronx buses.
Echoing requests made in their letter to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and MTA chairman and CEO Pat Foye, the advocates called for the leaders to add cash to the Bronx bus network after reviewing a proposed redesign that would maintain a “revenue-neutral” status quo they say doesn’t do enough for Bronx bus riders. Riders in the borough have complained of infrequent service, old buses, slow speeds, and a lack of connections to other boroughs.
“Better buses can be a powerful tool to provide riders access to economic opportunity, reducing social isolation and making New York City a fairer and just city,” the letter says.
A slew of Bronx politicians have added their names to the missive, which calls for increasing the frequency of bus service in the borough as well as adding new routes and improving bus connections to other boroughs.
Eight of the Bronx’s 44 bus routes received an "F" grade from the Bus Turnaround Coalition in 2018 in an ongoing project by transit advocacy group TransitCenter that tracks data for factors such as wait times and average bus speed. The Bx36 carries riders across the borough and Manhattan, between Soundview and the George Washington Bridge, but crept along at a glacial average speed of 5 mph, according to 2018 MTA data. Meanwhile, one in six Bx3 buses were ‘bunched’, or arriving too soon after the previous bus, according to the Bus Turnaround Coalition.
The drafted redesign in question is part of the MTA’s Bus Action Plan, which calls for a re-evaluation of the design of the more than 300 bus routes in the city.
More than 2 million people rely on buses to get around, and some 600,000 of them are Bronx residents.
“For our constituents that have mobility issues and live far from a subway, without the bus they simply can’t get to their destination,” the letter reads.
New York City Transit President Andy Byford said the MTA will improve bus service in the Bronx.
“The bottom line is that we’re committed to improving bus service in the Bronx and we’re absolutely willing to consider an increase in funding, within the bounds of what’s possible given our fiscal constraints, if that’s what it takes,” Byford said in a statement.
The final bus redesign plan for the borough is expected to be released early this fall.