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In need of a lift: Pols and locals demand state restore defunct bus line • Brooklyn Paper

In need of a lift: Pols and locals demand state restore defunct bus line

On board: Kathy Park Price and her daughter Charlie came prepared with props to the rally to restore the long-defunct B71 bus service.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

They want Cuomo to get on board!

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority must reinstate a long-defunct bus route that connected Crown Heights and Red Hook, pols and locals demanded at a Friday rally to reinstate the B71 line.

“We all need the B71 restored, people relied on it, and we’ve gotta have it back,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Cobble Hill), who started a petition last week to bring back the route that has amassed nearly 1,500 signatures.

The state-controlled transit authority cut the line — which ran through Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights — in 2010, claiming a lack of funds and ridership. The new route Lander and some fellow pols are proposing would serve the same nabes and include an extension from Red Hook to Manhattan.

Reviving it is necessary to serve the corridor’s booming population, according to the councilman, who said no transit alternatives were provided after it was scrapped.

One Crown Heights resident who used to ride the bus regularly to doctor’s appointments at Park Slope’s Methodist Hospital said she must now take a car to the sessions because she would otherwise have to take a subway to Bergen Street station, climb two flights of stairs — which she said she can’t manage — and catch another bus nearby to get there.

“I would take the bus, but now I have to take a cab because I can’t do stairs,” said Clara Joseph. “I hated it when they took that route out.”

Joseph, a senior who said she is on a fixed income, said she also used to hang out at Slope bookseller Barnes and Noble, but now frequents her preferred haunt far less because she can only afford to take cabs to the neighborhood to see her doctor.

Another local said he rode the bus to bounce between nabes and, while he doesn’t mind strolling, he would like the option to catch a lift, too.

“I go back and forth between neighborhoods all the time,” said Benjamin Solitaire, a Carroll Gardens resident. “I like walking, but on cold days it’s nice to be able to save a little time and take the bus.”

Although Lander, a city employee, is leading the charge to restore the B71, the state ultimately makes the final decision. But it has bowed to locals’ bus-service demands in the past, reinstating the B37, which runs from Bay Ridge to Prospect Heights, in 2014 after the transit authority also cut that line in 2010 due to financial issues.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill

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