By Mayara Guimaraes
This morning, dozens of people, including subway riders, elected officials, and representatives of transportation unions, lobbied the MTA at a board meeting to restores several lines of bus service around the City, which were cut in 2010. Almost two years ago, the MTA decided to cut the bus lines B61, B77, B64, B82, and express bus service to Manhattan, all operating out of Washington Heights and Southwest Brooklyn, in an effort to cut expenses. During the board meeting, the transportation authority’s board members were presented with petitions filled out by the thousands of people who have been directly affected by the cuts.
“The reductions of bus service to our neighborhood have severely hurt seniors, people with disabilities, students, and small neighborhood businesses. People are now not able to use public transportation, many times feeling trapped in their home, and are unable to go to doctors appointments. I brought in 2,000 signatures from people in such conditions. Public transportation has got to be the priority of the MTA,” shouted William Colton, a New York State Assemblyman, at the meeting.
John Paul “JP” Patafin, a member of the Transit Workers Union Local 100, said that over 50 percent of the people that reside in Southwest Brooklyn don’t own a car and rely heavily on public transportation. He added that the over 200 service cuts in 2010 caused some riders to wait for over two hours to reach their destination. Before the cuts, Patafin noted, the wait was usually around 30 minutes. “Putting these lines back is an investment in the people of New York City,” said Patafio.
An MTA press representative Charles Ceaton confirmed today that there are no plans at this time to reinstate the discontinued service lines, however, Patafio promised to return for the June board meeting.
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