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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.
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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
Updated 9:29 am, October 16, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

SCR from Realityville says:
How DARE the MTA/NYCTA,ask us to accept Congestion-Pricing,and won't even first restore all their 2010 drastic bus-service cuts. Out,where I live in Fresh Meadows,in northeastern Queens;we know that Congestion-Pricing,is a non-starter. Especially since,the NYC Subway does NOT reach large expanses of Queens,and never will. And more importantly,especially since the MTA/NYCTA,has had a terrible habit of bus-service reductions;as well as,reductions-in LIRR Flushing/Port Washington line,off-peak service. Hopefully,other communities will contact their NYS senators and NYS assembly-representatives,and insist they stop,this attempted"TA's" cash-grab. Don't fall for their attempted promises. While the MTA/NYCTA,is technically a state agency,they are answerable to no onen; in-particular.
Oct. 16, 2017, 8:28 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bed-Stuy says:
The dysfunctional MTA is still not going our own way since its inception in 1968.
Oct. 16, 2017, 8:32 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Why not install a tram/trolley system instead?
Oct. 16, 2017, 10:05 am
Frank from Furter says:
Hey Mike from Bay ridge..a bus route costs a million a year or so.. The bqx which is light rail aka trolley will cost 4 billion and 40 million per year...and is not flexible too. And make the roads more crowded too.
Oct. 16, 2017, 11:04 am
Kate from Brooklyn Heights says:
A trolley would be a cleaner and more efficient solution. Not another bus which never comes.
Oct. 17, 2017, 6:38 am
Michael Ring from Eighth Avenue and Union Street says:
That bus used to pass my house. And I'll have to admit that back then I understood why the MTA took it away. It ran every half hour and at times was empty. It was empty because it ran every half hour and nobody knew when it was gonna come. I know I saw no point in standing up there and waiting for it.

But now, most people know when the bus is gonna come. So even if the bus is only going to run twice an hour you can open up the app on your phone and know when it will arrive. I know I'll take it more often and I'm sure it won't be empty anymore.
Oct. 17, 2017, 8:20 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from Bed-Stuy says:
Thanks for correcting my mistake imposter. Meanwhile, the MTA will never getting the old bus routes back because they are still licking the financial wounds from the Great Recession and from Governor Cuomo.
Oct. 17, 2017, 8:26 am
SCR from Realityville says:
The realities are that whenever,the inevitable recessionary economic-downturns occur, the MTA/NYCTA will cut what they consider(low ridership) bus-routes;and(low ridership) Subway-lines-and they may never fully restore,these service-cuts,when the downturns end. Consequently,we will NEVER totally CHUMPED into accepting congestion-pricing!! Again,the MTA/NYCTA,is answerable to nobody;in-particular!!
Oct. 17, 2017, 10:01 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately, when a bus line has low ridership, the MTA will see it as a waste of money to keep it running. The same thing happened with lines on the LIRR on lines whose ridership was low as well. In order to keep a line running regularly, there needs to be a good reason especially if the ridership on that said line is low otherwise it will be cut. As for congestion pricing, I just see as not just a regressive tax on lower incomes, but also as a punishment to those having little to no viable alternatives to getting around, which is why the latest Quinapac Poll gave a whopping landslide of supporting a millionaire's tax over this. Meanwhile, I don't see trolleys as a solution either considering that they cost more, have tracks that take up space on streets, and don't run any faster than buses do.
Oct. 17, 2017, 4:30 pm
Nippy says:
Build a trolley!!!
Oct. 18, 2017, 7:53 pm

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