I’m madder than Ralph Kramden after Alice told him that he couldn’t go to his Raccoon Lodge meeting because she’d made plans for them to go to the opera over the fact that, despite all my screeching, the MTA still hasn’t re-instated Bensonhurst’s beloved B64 bus.
Look, you all know that ol’Jackie Gleason himself is turning over in his grave right now because he knows as well as I do that parts of Bensonhurst are inaccessible by public transportation, and our many residents who are old, infirm, young and without a drivers license, and just about everybody else that lives here need buses to take us to places like Coney Island.
But apparently, some jerk at the MTA thought it was easier to cut routes across the city to save pennies than to provide the reliable service that the riders so deservedly need — and deserve. MTA Chairman Jay Walder, who was imported here from England, did just that. No sooner did he screw up the bus service for thousands of riders than he sought greener pasture with bigger paychecks and benefits at other places overseas.
Well, here in Brooklyn, we have no overseas, and those of us who have a tough time walking all the way to the 86th Street el (which, by the way, only runs on 86th Street) and then are forced to climb those 42 stairs (yep! I counted them) at the Bay 50th Street stop of the D train, would like to peer out at that ocean that he flew over — probably on his new boss’s dime!
Meanwhile, the residents living on Harway watch in anger as empty buses head down their street from the Ulmer Park Depot at 25th Avenue and head to Stillwell Avenue along the now-dead route.
So my question is, why can’t those buses pick up some people and take them to Stillwell? They are going there anyway, right?
Instead, the Transit Authority expects the old, the frail, the sickly, the needy, the students and the handicapped to trek long blocks and back.
So, because my columns haven’t gotten the much-needed buses restored, I’m calling in a back-up. And that back up is the people who go around enforcing the American with Disabilities Act. They need to storm the MTA headquarters for depriving this vital constituency of decent bus service.
A primary goal of the Disabilities Act is to open up everyday American life to persons with disabilities. Policy analysts characterize its mandate as broad and sweeping — to protect the civil rights of the nation’s 49 million people with disabilities in virtually all aspects of public life. In a recent survey of the its implementation in municipalities, it has been heralded as the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
At last week’s Bensonhurst West End Community Council’s meeting, there were lots of complaints from the elderly, handicapped, and working residents that feel trapped in their homes without their B64.
One resident who spoke of the manager of Key Food at Bath and 17th avenues, who noticed a severe drop of business because of the service cut.
The twin towers of Harway Terrace, with its 2,600 residents, always had the most convenient transportation with the D Line screeching continuously because of its close proximity to the buildings and the B64 at its corners, a stop away from the Playground of the World. The Stillwell Avenue Terminal served several lines to the transit system … it made us the center of the world, and you could get anywhere from there.
Now, you can nowhere here without calling Access-A-Ride!
The old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly applies to this MTA boondoggle! As members of the audience showed cellphone photos of their old buses passing by empty and returning empty. How could the MTA explain the savings, when it uses the same busses, the same drivers to pass the same route without picking up passengers! Is a puzzlement as Yul Brynner would say.
Like Marie Antoinette who said “let them eat cake,” the MTA said let them walk the extra blocks. Tell that to the cripples, where each step is torture!
Screech at you next week!