Protestors: Save our vital (and always empty) bus lines!

The Brooklyn Paper
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An MTA plan to cut a key Brooklyn-to-Manhattan bus line would leave disabled people stranded, handicapped people and their supporters charged on Tuesday afternoon.

A crowd of 100 people rallied at Brooklyn Borough Hall to slam the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s plan to cut the B51 and B39 routes, which transport riders from Downtown Brooklyn or Williamsburg to Manhattan, giving people in wheelchairs an alternative to the subway.

“Going on the subway is like playing Russian Roulette,” said Gabriela Amari, who works with the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled. “They only update the Web site three times a day, so I never know if the elevators are working.”

The MTA says it must cut the B51 and B39 as part of a larger effort to close a yawning deficit. The B51 line was chosen because it is the 189th busiest bus out of 194 lines total, while the B39 ranked 181st.

As if on cue, as protesters and Borough President Markowitz called for the retention of both lines, chanting “Save the B51, save the B51,” a B51 bus pulled over to the curb with just one woman on it.

Markowitz dismissed the empty bus, and the MTA’s ridership statistics, as meaningless.

“What is important here is not the low ridership numbers, but the people who make up these numbers,” he said. “The people aren’t riding [the B51] bus because they want to, because the subway is actually quicker. People use this because they have no choice!”

MTA officials declined to comment, but have said in the past that they are seeking the fairest way to balance the agency’s budget — a harder task given the recent deal to save student Metrocards.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Slim from Gowanus says:
I've often wondered why there can't be buses that are only half as large/long as regular buses for use on routes that are less heavily used. Obviously they wouldn't be half as expensive to run, but surely there would be some savings.
June 23, 2010, 12:11 pm
Disappointed Reader from Brooklyn Heights says:
I'm really disappointed that the writer of this article completely missed the point that the B 39 & the B 51 are the ONLY ways for many people to get to Manhattan. Emphasizing that the B 51 only had one passenger is almost irrelevant, since it was closer to the end of the day and most people take this route to return to Brooklyn from Manhattan.

Nice job of being a stooge for the MTA!
June 23, 2010, 12:17 pm
Mike says:
Why can't these riders take the subway? There are plenty of accessible stations.
June 23, 2010, 9:44 pm
Gabriela says:
@Mike: You are Obviously Not in a wheelchair! You Obviously do Not understand that what the MTA calls "accessible" is a cruel joke. Have you ever tried to get onto a subway car from the platform only to have your front wheels fall between the car and the platform? I Have. Have you ever gotten out at an "accessible subway stop only to find that the elevator only goes all the way to the subway platform on the Uptown side? I Have (on the 4/5 line @ Borough Hall!) Did you Know that after getting off of the subway, more often than not, we must utilize a BUS to get to our intended destination because te subway stop that goes to where we need is NOT accessible? How will we achieve this with half of the busses and service being cut? Are (ou Kidding Me?

How About Doing The Research Before BEFORE you make a comment on something that you OBVIOUSLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT?
June 24, 2010, 12:17 pm
Gabriela says:
Oh, and P. S. If the MTA hadn't given the Sweetheart Deal to Bruce Ratner for the Atlantic Yards AND sold some of their Empty Buildings, they could have closed their (alleged) deficit Without Cutting Jobs and Services! Just Saying...
June 24, 2010, 7:03 pm

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