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The B37 bus rides again!

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Ridgites rejoice — the B37 bus is back!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority resumed the Bay Ridge-to-Barclays bus on June 29 after it axed the route four years ago in a cost-cutting spree. Straphangers along the route say the bus is a boon, but they also want to see the route return to its 2010 terminus.

“It’s nice the bus is back, but they should extend it to Downtown,” said Howard Tillen of Bay Ridge. “You can take it to the arena, but you go any further and you have to transfer.”

The Authority put the brakes on the bus in 2010 as part of a bid to save $2.8 million annually, replacing it with the B70, which only went as far north as the 36th Street subway junction in Sunset Park.

The resumed service is a godsend for the disabled community, which typically avoids subways which have tough-to-navigate stairs, several straphangers said.

“Probably the biggest help is with my daughter,” said Diane Dunchak, who accompanies her paraplegic daughter to the doctor via the B37.

The bus provides a fallback plan if the family can’t secure an Access-A-Ride van at the last minute, she said.

The push to bring the route back from the grave was a grassroots effort.

“It was intergenerational, multi-racial, and very Brooklyn,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, a founding member of the B37 Coalition, which advocated the bus line’s return on behalf of kids, seniors, and the disabled community.

The bus may be rolling, but transit advocates say they will not sit down until the route returns to Downtown.

“We’re going to continue to work with TWU [local 100, a transit union] to get that piece taken care of,” she said.

Local politicians who joined the fight to resurrect the B37 say they will lobby for a longer route, too.

“It’s fast — but still you have to take two busses,” said State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), a proponent of expanding service to Downtown.

“My hope is that once the MTA sees just how crucial this route is, they’ll agree to restore the line all the way to Court Street the way it was and the way it should be,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority previously told this paper the resurrected route did not extend to Downtown in order to prevent further traffic in the congested commerce center.

The key to convincing the Authority that the extension is necessary is riding the bus as it is now and bolstering ridership statistics, Yeampierre said.

“If we don’t use it, we can lose it,” she said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
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Reader Feedback

John from Bay Ridge says:
The return of he B37 is not completely useless, but very close to it. Perhaps a few hundred people will benefit from this. Yet our local "leaders" continue to ignore the real transportation issue in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park -- horrendous service on the R and N trains -- which has a negative effect on thousands, every day.
July 1, 2014, 9:27 am
Johnson from Bay Ridge says:
the B70 Third Ave-to-Eight Ave route has much higher ridership than the new B37 route; yesterday on Bay Ridge Parkway only saw 3 to 5 passengers on B37 than the usual half-full B70 bus. The MTA should consider permanently routing the B70 to Third Avenue due to higher demand by Bay Ridge residents.
July 1, 2014, 9:32 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
The N and R do not have " horrendous " service - that is baby talk.

The R service now is problematic due to the tunnel work, but generally it is fine.

--

I took the B37 yesterday, both ways, and today at 6am. There were very few fellow passengers.

Use it or lose it, boys.
July 1, 2014, 9:54 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The B37 needs to go all the way to Court Street for people going shopping and for people on jury duty. Stopping it where it does now is ridiculous. Furthermore, some people don't know yet. I was just on the corner of Third Avenue and 65th Street and a woman from the Bay Ridge Towers expressed surprise when she saw the sign.
And yes, I agree with Phantom, The "N" and "R" service is good.
July 1, 2014, 12:17 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
"Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
The N and R do not have " horrendous " service - that is baby talk."

You obviously don't ride the trains. The service was horrendous before the rail repair project, and is worse now as a result.

But the point is that it is idiotic to concentrate on bus service used by hundreds, at best, when the infrequent train service that passes for "normal" on the N and the R makes for erratic and long commutes for thousands.
July 1, 2014, 2:43 pm
Johnson from Bay Ridge says:
at least the N and R riders don't have to experience all the potholes on 3 AV under the Gowanus Expwy. Many months after the last snow storm and potholes on that part of 3 AV are still not being fixed.
July 1, 2014, 3:42 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
Your all knowing Phantom rides the trains a minimum of 5 days a week, sometimes more, at all hours, and nearly all of those rides involve the R line.

The R ( RR ) was horrendous and unpredictable in the seventies and eighties. It's generally good now, seven days a week.

Breakdowns are rare now.. The trains are not as crowded as the A / C / F / IRT.

The Montague tunnel repairs necessitates transfers that weren't necessary before, but that is entirely understandable. I don't criticize the MTA for doing a complete repair of a 100 year old water damaged tunnel.

Things like rail repair / Fasttrack are very good - they are exactly what the MTA should be doing. If they cause temporary delays, that's fine - get everything fixed right, and we will understand.

---

My daily commute on the R ( when the tunnel is open ) is about 30 minutes from Bay Ridge Avenue to Cortlandt. It is maybe 8 minutes longer now since there must be a transfer, but there is a reason for that. No reason to complain.

---

The B37 has been back for all of two days now. No conclusions should be drawn at this time, esp as many don't know that it is back.
July 1, 2014, 4:25 pm
Old Timey says:
Shhh! We gotta keep people thinking the R is bad so the hipsters don't "discover" Bay Ridge.
July 1, 2014, 10:09 pm
old skool boy from Finland by the park says:
The N (Sea Beach) B'way Express is excellent. It only shares track with the Q, in Manhattan.

The D (West End) is not so good because it shares the track with the B, in Manhattan, and there is a lot of incidents in the Bronx.
July 2, 2014, 1:46 am
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
The N really is excellent.

I take the N / M60 bus to LaGuardia often enough and find the N to be exceptionally reliable, one of the best trains in the system. It has the still brand-new, bright, cool, R160 subway cars too.
July 2, 2014, 7:56 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
The N runs local in Manhattan, whereas it used to run express. That change was a reduction in service to Bay Ridge Commuters no matter how you cut. And our local leaders remain silent on that.

The N runs more frequently than the R does, as anyone that changes trains at 59th street can attest to, as we often wait for 2 to 3 N trains to arrive before the R does.

However, the notion that R train serve is good is far off the mark. Compared with other train lines its performance is near bottom of the barrel. That's not OK, and concentrating on bus service is idiotic. We should have more frequent R service and N express service in Manhattan restored. then Gentile, Golden and the rest of the pack can waste their time on bus service.
July 2, 2014, 4:19 pm
Phantom from Bay Ridge says:
The real waste of time is the Express Bus service, which. These buses run for the most part on Shore Road, far from where most Bay Ridge people even live. The supplemental express buses that were added post Sandy run empty very much of the time - the only contribution they make is to waste our taxes, pollute our air and clog our streets.

The other waste is the ferries to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which have an off the charts low ridership. Any Brooklyn politician who thinks this is a valuable service is a moron who is out of touch with how people actually commute.

--
The B37 I think can be a useful thing. There are lots of older people in the area for whom the subway stairs are a huge burden - the bus is ok for them, and for lots of others. I'd like to see the ridership numbers for the B37 before it was cancelled. I bet they were higher than other buses that were not cancelled.

--
The N runs well in Manhattan. It still goes over the bridge during all peak hours, so its not going through the crawling Dekalb - Canal Street local run.

I think that its status as a " local " only means that it doesn't skip a grand total of four stations now - Prince, 8th, 23rd and 28th. This isn't ruining anyone's life, and it means that some people who go to say the Village can hop right on the N at 8th Street without the need to change trains.

---
I will never understand the perpetually griping on the R from some, which makes us sound like a bunch of sniveling Staten Islanders always wanting something for nothing.. It is a local. It will never be as fast as an express. The trains run at an appropriate frequency considering the ridership..

We do agree two fundamental things I think. One, it is the R train that serves the vast majority of Bay Ridge commuters, and it is the R train that should be improved where possible.

Two, Golden and Gentile, by focusing on buses ( again, the real waste is the express buses IMO ) and ferries are diverting the focus of the city and MTA from improvements that could actually help someone.

The perpetual complaining though is completely unhelpful. It seems that many who make these arguments must never take other lines.

Before Sandy, the R train service was off the charts better than anything we R/RR riders had experienced in the seventies and eighties. And I will take the R any day of the week over many other lines in the city, for multiple reasons. Once the tunnel reopens, I will be happy to have an all R train commute once more.
July 2, 2014, 5:49 pm

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