Big wheels keep on turnin’: Checking up on the B44 Select Bus Service

Big wheels keep on turnin’: Checking up on the B44 Select Bus Service
Roads diverge: Commuters' opinions are split on the B44 Select Bus Service two years after it started.
Community News Group / Vince DiMiceli

Community boards in Canarsie and Sheepshead Bay are bracing for a new B82 Select Bus Service whose proposed dedicated bus lane will gridlock traffic on Flatlands Avenue and Kings Highway, members say. In anticipation, we’re decided to take a look at the B44 Select Bus Service, which has been operating in the borough’s first bus-only lane now for a little over two years. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority hasn’t released reports analyzing the service’s success, so we hit bus stops along Nostrand Avenue to get straphangers’ opinions of the service.

Commuters are split between love and loathing, apparently a reflection of whether the B44 Select Bus Service made stops that were convenient for them. When the B44 Select Bus Service debuted two years ago, it replaced the limited B44 route — which made fewer stops than a local bus and more than a select bus — and many folks lamented losing a more frequently stopping bus.

“The limited was fast, but convenient,” one straphanger told the paper. “The select doesn’t make enough stops, they’re always too far away.”

But the buses prove a fast and reliable ride uptown, another rider said.

“I love it,” said B44 commuter Tomekia Jenkins. “It’s fast, it’s very prompt, you get there on time, and you’re not waiting 20 minutes.”

Straphangers routinely complain to Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s (D–Sheepshead Bay) office that select stops are too far from their homes, so they have to watch several, empty select buses pass as they wait for a local, the councilman said.

Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) and Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Canarsie) got the transit authority to add a select stop at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue in 2014.

Now he’s pushing for another stop at Avenue R and Nostrand Avenue, although investments in new infrastructure necessary to see the select bus stop there, including longer bus stops to accommodate the select service’s larger, articulated busses, and kiosks where tickets can be purchased ahead of boarding, have made the process a slow, uphill battle, he said.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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