For commuters from Coney Island to Red Hook, Sunday was indeed bloody, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority enacted sweeping changes across the transit system, slashing service, reorganizing lines and eliminating some routes entirely in an effort to close a $800-million budget deficit. As the agency tries to get into the black, Brooklyn bus riders are expected to be red-faced: the borough is losing a whopping 298 bus stops out of 570 system-wide. Here’s how transit riders reacted:
Line: B37 will no longer travel to Lutheran Medical Center on Second Avenue in Sunset Park or head into Downtown.
“It’s just terrible. We think this is bad now, but it’s is just the beginning of the summer. In the winter, we are going to suffer from this elimination of bus routes big time. I am already relying on car services, but how long will it be before they raise prices because they know they can? I’ve had recent problems with my spine, and there are just too many steps to take the subway. And it’s not like we have the opportunity to move anywhere to be closer to a bus route.”
Line: The M train will be eliminated entirely in the borough, affecting 10,000 weekday riders.
“Between 25th and Union streets you used to be able to take the R and the M, but now you can just take the R. It will be much more crowded on these trains during rush hour.”
Line: B23, which serves Kensington, Flatbush and Borough Park. “I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting medical tests, and thank God these buses were there because they helped me a lot. For seniors who need to get to Maimonides [Medical Center], or to diagnostic centers, and also to places like Kings Plaza, this is the only life line that we have. It will also be a big hardship on the children, who depend on it to get from Kensington to Borough Park to go to school. You just can’t do that to people! It’s not the American way!”
Line: The B51, which travels over the Manhattan Bridge from Downtown Brooklyn, is eliminated.
“It’s insane! This is an overall problem for working-class disabled people. Access-a-ride is going to be inundated — they can’t handle this! Even the subway stations that are ‘accessible’ have problems, like at Marcy Street. The people designing the subway system aren’t sitting in the chair. They don’t have the personal experience. I mean, what am I, a pariah just because I’m in a chair?”
Line: B64 will no longer rumble beyond 25th Avenue.
“If I need to buy fruits and vegetables in Bay Parkway, I always take the B64. All there is in my neighborhood is a bakery, and I can’t walk to Pathmark on Cropsey Avenue; I’m 83-years-old and use a cane [but] the Bay 50th street subway station has 50 steps down to the platform, and add that to the few blocks I have to walk to my destination. Now I have to take two buses to get to Bay Parkway — the B6 and the B82. The B64 is a main artery between Bensonhurst and Coney Island. Instead of a straight line, now they want us to go in a circle!”
Line: B71 between Columbia Street and Crown Heights was eliminated entirely.
“I have never seen anything like this! I take the B71 every morning, and now they want to stop the direct line and make me go through Atlantic Avenue, in that mayhem, during rush hour? I just want them to explain why they are screwing around with all of these buses — I thought that they just got a stimulus package? Last week, I was helping a woman in a wheelchair get home from work, and I looked up to the sky and just thought ‘Who is going to help us now?’ ”
Line: B77 will be eliminated with an extended B61, whose route will follow a longer route from Downtown to Windsor Terrace to Red Hook.
“The B77 takes me from Smith and Ninth Street all the way to the Red Hook Senior Center on Wolcott, where I volunteer. I help them with their shopping, or anything else they need. Now, I might be late because the bus route [is extended]. And the new schedule looks kind of complicated, especially for seniors, who have to know to switch to the B61.”
Line: Weekend service on the B2, which travels from Kings Highway to Kings Plaza is eliminated.
“My husband takes one car and my kids take the other car, so I have to take the bus if I want to go shopping on Kings Highway. It may not seem like a big deal to walk to the other buses, but in 95-degree heat, rain or snow, it will be awful. This neighborhood doesn’t exist without the bus. The MTA doesn’t care about the people who will be stranded here.”
Line: B39, which goes over the Williamsburg Bridge, is eliminated.
“I know a woman that goes to rehab in Manhattan on the B39, and now she’s supposed to go up and down four flights of stairs [in the subway] at Delancey Street? This bus also allows residents to transfer to other buses that go uptown. We’re not saying that cutbacks don’t need to be made here, but to eliminate B39? That’s just backward.”