NEW YORK—The restoration of weekend services for the M50 bus service was celebrated on Monday by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Sen. Liz Krueger, Assemblyman Jonathan Bing and community leaders of Turtle Bay, in Manhattan, who gathered near the M50 bus stop on 49th Street and Third Avenue.
The M50, which currently runs to the Hudson River from the United Nations Headquarters, is the only bus that travels crosstown in the Turtle Bay neighborhood between 49th and 57th streets. In 2010, the weekend and night service of the M50 bus was discontinued by the MTA since its routes were deemed to have insignificant ridership.
After the cut took place, Congresswoman Maloney and other government and community leaders delivered a petition of 4,000 signatures along with statistics showing the number of travelers who regularly take the M50 in off-peak hours to the MTA. According to the congresswoman, the cut affected as many as 2,2,00 to 2,300 Turtle Bay residents who want to travel to the West Side of their streets on the weekend.
"Turtle Bay has a large number of residents who are elderly and/or disabled. It is unreasonable to require them to walk long distances to reach alternate bus lines. It is a neighborhood where it is often difficult to find cabs. Further, many cannot afford to take them on a regular basis," said Congresswoman Maloney in an earlier letter to the MTA.
Assemblyman Bing, one of the elected representatives who resides in Turtle Bay, said that the restoration of the M50 is a top priority for his neighborhood.
"There was no issue that people came up to me at the supermarket but this one," said Bing at the press conference. "This is a life line for Turtle Bay on weekends. There is no alternative." He pointed out that Turtle Bay is a thriving residential neighborhood with great needs for public transportation.
The MTA agreed to restore weekend services of the M50 bus while eliminating stops on the M50 route below East 48th Street, including the United Nations, so that the services can be restored at no additional cost to taxpayers.
Passengers who are affected by the new cut will need to either walk to 48th Street to reach the M50, walk six blocks to board the M42 bus that runs crosstown on 42nd Street, or take the M15 on First Avenue before transferring to M50 further north.
"It's great news that the M50 bus will no longer be taking long weekend naps in the city that never sleeps," said Congresswoman Maloney at the press conference.