B37 Bus Line Partial Restoration Moves Ahead

By Catherine Yang, Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Downtown Brooklyn community members and elected officials urged the MTA New York City Transit and Bus Committee once again to restore full service on the B37 bus line.

The B37 line was discontinued in 2010, and the $2.06-million annual funding for partial restoration was approved in July 2013.

Since then, residents have been rallying for full service restoration. Before, the bus ran to Court Street in downtown Brooklyn, but the line will now stop at Barclays Center/Atlantic Avenue. The bus will run from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. instead of 24-hours a day.

Advocates for full restoration say many elderly members of the community, grandparents, and disabled community members have felt isolated since the bus service stopped. Transferring onto another bus line or to a subway without elevators means they still cannot travel, advocates said at the committee meeting.

The service had originally been cut because of reliability issues due to congestion in Downtown Brooklyn, which resulted in less ridership on the B37.

Jackie Del Valle, a director at Fifth Avenue Committee, a Brooklyn organization working with low-income residents, said the issue of congestion should still be addressed by providing more bus service in the area.

“It’s the bigger picture issue here,” said Del Valle.

NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco had previously written that extending the bus service to downtown Brooklyn would cost an additional $500,000 annually.

City councilmember Vincent Gentile said in a statement that it is “hard for us to believe it would cost another half a million dollars to go another ten blocks.”

Peter Cafiero, head of Operations Planning, said their study showed ridership dropped to 20 percent for the remainder of the route from Barclays Center/Atlantic Avenue to downtown Brooklyn.

The study also showed most of the riders going to downtown Brooklyn are coming from Gowanus. Instead of extending the B37, the B103 Limited will make three new stops that provide direct, one-seat service to downtown Brooklyn. The transfer will not require crossing any major streets.

Implementation for the service change is proposed for June 2014, if passed by the Board on Jan. 29.

In addition to the B37 partial restoration, 49 bus service changes will be implemented in April. The MTA studies ridership and makes service alterations four times a year to better match customer usage. Of the changes, 20 of them will include service reductions.