Dear Friends: I am pleased to announce that less than two weeks after my petition to the MTA was launched, urging it to reassess to the B44 Select Bus line, it will be restoring essential bus stops and has increased local service.
Together, our 430 voices made a difference -- both individually and collectively. Each time the petition was signed, MTA officials received an email letting them know our concerns.
According to the MTA: "In order to address several outstanding issues along the route, MTA NYC Transit is planning to take the following actions which are responsive to the feedback we have received and which we believe will improve operations along the entire route: The addition of an SBS stop at Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue in both directions, and SBS stops at Gates Avenue on Nostrand Avenue and Bedford Avenue, based on concerns about the long distance between SBS stops on these parts of the route and transfer opportunities for the B9 and B52 routes. This requires lengthening the existing local stops and installing fare machinery and other street furniture. Working with NYCDOT, we anticipate these stops will be operational in early Spring 2014. The addition of local bus service along the entire B44 route effective Sunday, February 2. We believe that the new local schedule will address recent concerns about overcrowding and poor reliability of the B44 local. In early April 2014, we will modify the B44 SBS schedule so that customers will be able to travel the entire route from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg Bridge Plaza without having to transfer over most of the day. We continue to monitor operations along the entire B44 route and will update you about any service changes."
Thank you once again those of you who signed and shared the petition. We could not have achieved this victory without you.
L. Rickie Tulloch Chair Community Advisory Council - Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs
We the undersigned urge the MTA to be accountable to riders of the B44 Bus by responding to our concerns and comprehensively reevaluating the impact of its new Select Bus Service on that line, a major bus route running from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our concerns are amplified by the fact that the B44 runs through many areas with limited access to a subway line, therefore making it even more important that it runs as efficiently as possible.
However, our voices are being ignored because the MTA believes that its obligation to consult with riders ended with the close of the public review process. We are tired of the MTA’s dismissive and ambiguous responses to our concerns and its excuse that community members have already had the opportunity to comment on its proposal during the planning phase.
We believe that the MTA has an enduring responsibility to those it serves and that continuous dialog with the community is vital to ensure that unforeseen issues that were not raised during the planning phase are addressed adequately, and that ALL bus riders have the opportunity to make their voices heard.
As such, we implore the MTA to initiate an ongoing, in-depth assessment of the B44 Bus Line, which would rely heavily on site visits to bus stops, input from bus riders and ridership data from both the select and local B44 Buses, and address our concerns by providing the following:
● The restoration of numerous limited bus stops, including but not limited to: The Avenue L and Nostrand Avenue stop adjacent to Andries Hudde Junior High School, Nostrand Avenue and Empire Boulevard, Nostrand Avenue and Beverly Road, Nostrand Avenue and Tilden Avenue, Stops between Kings Highway and the Flatbush/Nostrand Junction, Nostrand Avenue and Avenue R;
● Better bus scheduling to eliminate longer than usual wait times for local buses, overcrowding on local buses while select buses are nearly empty, and significant discrepancies between the posted schedule and when buses arrive, causing buses to travel in "bunches";
● The ability to use tickets for select buses on local buses, should a local bus arrive first.
While we appreciate the MTA's attempts to improve bus service in our community, faster and more efficient bus service for some riders should not be at the expense of so many others. We call on the MTA to listen to community members and B44 riders -- those who are truly best equipped to evaluate what is and is not working.
It is time for the MTA to take action.