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It’s splitsville for the B61 bus! • Brooklyn Paper

It’s splitsville for the B61 bus!

The MTA is adding more B61 buses during evening rush hour — but commuters in Red Hook want to see additional buses in the morning too.
The Brooklyn Paper / Allyse Pulliam

It’s addition by division on a crowded bus line.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will split the route of the B61 bus into one section from transit-starved Red Hook to Downtown and another section from Downtown to Greenpoint (and beyond into Queens).

The goal is to improve service along one of Brooklyn’s most used, yet least reliable bus routes.

The decision, affirmed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board on Wednesday, will take effect next year. The shortened B61 route will run from Ikea, in Red Hook, to the corner of Smith and Livingston streets in Downtown Brooklyn. A new bus — the B62 — will leave from Boerum Place at Livingston Street en route to Queens Plaza via Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Williamsburg.

The MTA attributes the chronic delays to traffic congestion in Downtown Brooklyn and hopes that the breakup of the underperforming B61 will subdue straphanger frustration.

“Customers and community organizations have long complained about the unreliability of B61 service, [so] we are breaking up one long, cumbersome route into two that will be more manageable, both of which will be more reliable than the single route that exists today,” NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. said in a prepared statement.

Service increases were overdue. Last year, the Straphangers Campaign, a mass transit advocacy group, said there had been a 74-percent increase in ridership on the B61, yet only a seven percent boost in frequency.

The MTA says that 18,500 commuters board the B61 on weekdays, and some of them say sweet relief can’t come soon enough.

“I’d give it a D, very bad,” said Irving McConing, waiting for the B61 in Downtown Brooklyn. “It takes all day to come. Two routes is a good idea. I hope bus service will get better.

— with Jacob Kleinman

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