Bronx bus riders and advocates voiced concerns about proposed changes to bus routes during last week’s final virtual MTA meeting on the Bronx Bus Redesign Plan.
In October 2019, the MTA proposed redesigning the Bronx Bus Network to make services faster. After an 18-month pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan restarted in August. The plan seeks to change and add routes to increase reliability. However, over 450 stops will be cut from the routes.
Farrah Rubin, the director of constituent affairs for Councilmember Mark Gjonaj, said during the Nov. 9 meeting that residents in City Island were concerned about cutting stops on the Bx29 route.
The Bx29 route, which serves the northern Bronx, may see eight out of the 29 stops removed.
“There are many seniors on this island…they don’t have many other transportation options, and especially for people who find it very hard to walk they rely on those stops,” Rubin said.
The committee has hosted nine open houses, six workshops, 13 on the street and in-station events and distributed over 16,000 pamphlets, Dorian Statom, Bus Network Redesign director, said during the meeting.
Despite the outreach attempts, several people waiting outside several bus stops, like Gloria Bryant were not aware of the proposed plan. While she is frustrated by Bx32 always running late, she said cutting the stops will be inconvenient.
If the proposal is approved, Bx32 will have 22 out of 81 stops removed. The Bx32 serves Port Morris, Mott Haven and Melrsoe.
“I am at a loss for words,” Bryant said. “I don’t see this actually helping anyone…because you have to walk further now because it is going to be skipping stops.”
According to the proposal, the delays, aside from traffic and illegal parking, come from buses waiting to reenter traffic after making a stop.
The plan states that “while it may be super convenient to have a bus stop right outside your door…too many bus stops too close together dramatically slow down the bus.”
Bryant said cutting the stops will make it harder, especially during the winter, as people will walk farther than usual.
Angel Rivera said he takes the Bx21 to commute to his two jobs. He said he usually takes the bus because it is quicker and less crowded. However, he said his recent commutes have experienced delays. Last month, Rivera said he was late to work three times because of the delays.
The Bx21 may potentially cut 14 out of 85 stops.
Rivera was not aware of the proposed plan. He said it is somewhat of an improvement but has some concerns.
“Each bus stop is packed with people,” Rivera said. “I think if they did stop it, you will just make more traffic and congestion at the next bus station.”
Linda Jaysura was also not aware of the proposal and changes for her bus – the Bx33. If approved, nine out of 39 stops will be cut from the route.
Jaysura said she is diabetic and must go to different clinics. She is worried now to take the bus. She said it will become harder for her to reach her location if spots are removed.
“I think it’s really messed up,” Jaysura said. “I am very disappointed.”
The MTA board will vote on the final proposal in December, and if approved the changes will be implemented in the summer of 2022.