Save the X31

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The MTA is making big changes to SI Express Bus Service. Under the new plan, the X31 (SIM31) route will take longer and stops in Manhattan will be eliminated!

One of the pitched benefits is that “under the refined plan, riders will enjoy fewer stops to speed up trips”. Apparently, the MTA is adding 3 more stops to the X31 (SIM31) along South Gannon. The bus will no longer enter the SI Expressway by Bradley it will enter the highway by Slosson Ave. This will not speed up the trip, it will increase the trip with at least 10 minutes.

Under the proposed plan, the X31 (SIM31) route will travel from the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel to Midtown via the FDR Drive (which is longer in distance vs. the West Side Highway). For off-peak hours this would have been a great plan because there are no traffic lights on the FDR Drive. However, during weekday peak hours, the FDR is notoriously congested with rush hour traffic. This will not speed up the trip, it will increase the trip with at least another 10-15 minutes.

Another promise from the MTA is that “The vast majority of our customers will continue to use the same bus stop that they use today”. However, under the proposed route, 64% stops in Manhattan will be eliminated! The following stops will be eliminated W34 St/9 Ave, W34 St/8 Ave, W34 St/7 Ave, W34 St/Broadway, E34 St/5 Ave, E57 St/Park Ave & E57 St/3 Ave. These stops service the majority of the current X31 riders.

To get to my destination, West 34th St & 9th Ave, I will have to walk 0.9 miles or take the M34 bus across town. Either way this alone will add 15-20 more minutes to my trip.

I praise the MTA for taking the initiative to improve the Staten Island Express Bus Service. Most changes will positively impact and improve the bus service to Manhattan. However, this is not the case with the proposed plan for the X31 (SIM31) route as explained above.

On behalf of the X31 riders, I petition the President of the MTA and the Borough President of Staten Island to re-consider changing the X31 route.

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