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Revised "doomsday" cuts still a big blow for bus riders

(Photo by Kate Warburton)

The MTA may have scaled back some of the “doomsday” service cuts, but many bus riders won’t be spared, with more than 100 routes slated to be nixed or changed.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Stephanie Paddock, 27, a rider of the B69 along Prospect Park. The MTA plans to restructure the Brooklyn route this summer, forcing 1,200 straphangers to walk two long blocks to another bus, the B67.

To help fill a $750 million budget gap, the MTA is proposing $60 million in bus cuts, impacting 200,000 riders. The change in service to 110 routes dwarfs the cuts potentially coming to the subways, which include eliminating the W line and allowing trains to be more crowded.

The public will get to weigh in on the cuts at public hearings in each borough starting tomorrow.

The cuts are especially bad in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where more than half of all local bus routes are being eliminated, restructured or shortened.

“They are fairly dramatic,” said Craig Hammerman, district manager for Community Board 6 in Brooklyn. “(Brooklyn riders) depend on buses like you wouldn’t believe.”

MTA officials backed away from eliminating some routes entirely, and “restructured” others to make the cuts less painful. But they will force some straphangers to walk or to transfer, adding up to 20 minutes to their commutes, MTA documents show.

“One of the most deadly words in transit is transfer,” said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign.

The cuts will also make for more crowding on the remaining bus routes and neighboring subways, advocates say. A transit study last year found that the F train is beyond capacity in stretches of Brooklyn, but the MTA recommends 1,100 riders on the doomed B75 bus take the line.

“Wow, that really sucks,” said M9 rider Nathan Morales, 31, a rider of the M9, who will have to transfer to another bus to go cross town.

MTA CEO Jay Walder said the cuts are less catastrophic then ones considered last year, but agreed that the reductions are painful and will result in more layoffs.

“The changes are real. They do leave lasting impacts,” Walder said recently.

Julia Borovskaya and Nicholas Klopsis contributed to this story. 

 

The public will get to speak out about the cuts this week at hearings in
each borough, which start at 6 p.m.
Tuesday
College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard

Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel
135-20 39th Avenue, Flushing
 
Wednesday
The Paradise Theater
2403 Grand Concourse, the Bronx
 
Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
 
Thursday
Fashion Institute of Technology
Seventh Avenue at 27th Street

For more info, go to MTA.info

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