Dear Children's School Families:
Below is a message from Council Member Shahana Hanif regarding the proposed bus changes that would effect families who take mass transit. The buses are B37, B103 and B63.
Bus Network Redesign
This year, the MTA, in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOT), is working on redesigning the bus routes across New York City. Much like we redesign congressional, council, and state legislative districts to reflect population changes, the MTA studies ridership patterns to understand where people want to go and how they want to get there. Working with DOT, they propose changes to shorten routes, create new bus lines, or add more stops to make it easier for everyone to get from point A to point B. The process goes borough by borough, and right now, it’s Brooklyn’s turn. You can see the proposed changes on their online interactive map, but I also want to summarize some of the significant changes that will impact our district.
To start, a number of lines are being truncated, eliminating stops at the end of the routes. We have concerns that this may lead to longer wait times and longer walking distance for residents in specific neighborhoods, particularly in the southern half of the district, and have conveyed that to the MTA. We are also seeing the creation of a few new lines, like the B27, to both cover the elimination of lines like the B57 as well as cover some of the eliminated stops on other routes. Our one primary concern is that the B103, a fully accessible bus, will be totally eliminated, and we’re in contact with the MTA and DOT to see how we can still provide accessible bus options to the community. You can see a full breakdown of the changes here.
It’s important also to note that the MTA’s feedback sessions were wholly inadequate. To our knowledge, each community board only held one in-person feedback session. I appreciate the interactive online tool (you can leave comments at individual stops or just anywhere in the borough). Still, these tools are more accessible for a younger and more digitally literate audience who are overwhelmingly not the people who rely on the bus. Many of the people who rely on the bus not just for quick trips but for work, and picking up their children, are older, less likely to speak English as a first language, and less likely to be digitally literate. We need more in-person opportunities to give feedback before the MTA can move forward with the proposed changes.
While some of these changes will be a real improvement for our community, we can’t talk about our bus network without talking about making them free. A number of major metropolitan areas around the world have made their buses free, improving wait times, reducing violence for bus operators, and ensuring working-class people have a free and reliable way to get around. My friend in Albany, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani, has proposed this idea, along with a slew of other reforms to the MTA, and I’ll be pushing for it when I can at City Hall.
In the conversation about transit, we can’t forget to talk about buses. During the early days of my Lupus diagnosis, when I experienced mobility disabilities, I relied on buses to get to and from doctor appointments. Ensuring we have a robust bus network is a racial, economic, and disability justice issue that I promise I will continue to fight for.