When the MTA gets around to cutting service later this year, many New Yorkers — particularly those who rely on late-night bus service and off-peak transit options — will find themselves facing fewer options and longer commutes. In The Times this weekend, Ariel Kaminer tried to find out just how long these new commutes will take, and her article takes this experiment to an extreme. Kaminer asked HopStop’s CEO to find her a long route made longer by the death of the X32, and he routes her from “DeKalb Avenue in the Bronx, up near Woodland [sic] Cemetery, to 26th Avenue in Queens, not far from Fort Totten and Little Neck Bay.” As the crow flies, this is an 11.7-mile trip over the Throgs Neck Bridge, but for transit riders generally, it is now a one-transfer ride that involves a 4 or a D and the QM2A express bus.
Ultimately, Kaminer’s convoluted alternate route took her on a bus, a Metro-North train, a subway and a Long Island Rail Road train. It took nearly three hours and was designed to highlight what might happen if the X32, a route designed to ferry Bronx Sciences students to and from Queens is eliminated. The problem is that this route isn’t really indicative of anything. The MTA hasn’t yet determined if it will eliminate an important school route, and the vast majority of New Yorkers will be impacted in other, less absurdist ways by the transit cuts. Anyway, Kaminer’s route is well beyond that of the X32.
Articles such as this one make me question the “why” of it all. Is picking an obscure route that few use from one area of the Bronx to an already transit-poor area of Queens get the point across? Didn’t the piece highlighting late-night bus riders do so more effectively? There are far more tangible ways to highlight the impact of the service cuts particularly for those who do not commute into and out of Manhattan at peak hours. This was just an extreme travel stunt.