MTA to cut service along B38 bus this fall

Less is more: The Metropolitan Transportation Agency plans to cut the B38 schedule but will introduce longer articulated buses that hold more straphangers this fall.
Photo by Kevin Duggan

Transit officials will ax stops and run longer buses along the B38 through Brooklyn and Queens in an effort to streamline service along the cross-borough route beginning Sept. 2.

The transit agency plans to remove four stops along the Brooklyn portion of the route — which includes Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and Downtown — in addition to five stops in Queens starting Labor Day, according to a notice the Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent out to Community Board 2 on Aug. 13.

In Brooklyn, the Transit Authority will eliminate:

• Downtown-bound Ashland Place stops at DeKalb Avenue

• Queens-bound Kossuth Place stops near Bushwick Avenue

• Downtown-bound Bushwick Avenue stops at DeKalb Avenue

• Queens- and Downtown-bound stops at Cypress and DeKalb avenues

On the bright side, the route will benefit from longer, 60-foot busses capable of traveling at higher speeds and holding an additional 20 passengers each.

To accommodate the bigger busses, the MTA will lengthen 13 stops in Brooklyn, which will not block driveways, bike lanes, or intersections, according to Transit Authority spokeswoman Amanda Kwan, who directed questions regarding loss of parking to the city’s Department of Transportation.

“Longer buses require extending bus stops so that the back of the bus does not interfere with traffic at intersections or right turn lanes, block driveways or bike lanes, or create safety hazards for customers, other motorists or pedestrians,” said Kwan.

A city transit spokeswoman, Alana Morales, could not immediately comment regarding loss of parking.

The reductions are part of the Authority’s scheme to cut service along 23 bus routes citywide to save $7 million in operating costs, according to internal documents released last month.

By removing stops, transit officials hope to make the city’s bus system — the slowest of any major city in the nation — run faster and more reliably, a policy the agency piloted in a redesign of the Staten Island network last year.

“Our customers have called on us to increase bus speeds, and part of the solution is to re-examine our bus stop spacing, which is much closer than peer transit systems,” said Kwan.

The agency plans to launch a similar makeover for Kings County’s bus network in the coming months, the first on a borough-wide scale in decades, a spokeswoman previously told this paper.

“We welcome customer feedback as we approach our planned redesign of the entire Brooklyn bus network in the coming months when we will re-examine the route network for the first time in decades,” Kwan said.

This story was updated to include comment by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Aug. 19.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
The B38 bus will make nine less stops in Brooklyn and Queens when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rolls out longer articulated buses on teh route starting Labor Day.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority

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