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.
©2014 Community News Group
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