Well, in December, the MTA unveiled the plan service upgrades, but the agency couldn’t affix a time table to them. They had to make sure their finances were in order first. Last week, the MTA revealed that they do indeed have the funds, but they still have yet to announce dates for the service upgrades.
Today, the MTA unveiled a timetable of sorts for some of the service upgrades. Discussing the planned $13.7 million worth of service additions in the Bronx, the MTA said that they’ll be able to approve new services within the next two months. For Bronx residents who stand to benefit from new bus routes and enhanced interborough services, these changes can’t some soon enough.
Dorian Block has more on the upgrades:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has unveiled a $13.7 million set of enhancements to the Bronx’s subway and bus lines, increasing current service and creating new routes to transport the growing borough. Much of the money will be spent extending hours on several bus and subway lines, but the priciest single project is a $3.2 million new limited-stop bus — the Bx50 — that will run between Fordham Plaza and LaGuardia Airport…
Most of the improvements are scheduled to begin in June, with the LaGuardia bus and few others scheduled for September. “Right now we are waiting to see how the first-quarter revenues shape up, and if they come in as expected, we should be able to do the entire program,” said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan…
Other big improvements in the program include 24-hour service on the Bx1, Bx3, Bx5 and the Bx13 routes, and an extension of the Bx36 route to Home Depot on Zerega Ave., a change that was requested by elected officials, community boards and Home Depot, on behalf of its employees. The extension will also serve the Castle Hill Houses and several other employers on Zerega.
For Bronx residents, these service upgrades represent real progress. For many LaGuardia workers, their commute has long involved a subway ride to Manhattan and a trip across 125th St. on the glacially slow M60 bus. The new Bx50 will make life easier for a lot of airport employees, and anytime a two-seat ride turns to a one-seat trip, transit passengers come out ahead.
Meanwhile, transit advocates are praising the MTA for delivering on their service upgrade promises. “The agency usually has to be dragged kicking and screaming, and I have to say this is a little more proactive,” Gene Russianoff, lawyer at the Straphangers Campaign said to the Daily News. “My instinct is that the enhancements are creative and would be popular, particularly the increases in service. They are thinking out of the box.”
Of course, this first round of service upgrades — the ones due in June — are just the tip of the iceberg. While the Bronx stands to benefit from these new bus routes, the real test will come in September when the MTA starts rolling out increased subway service. For now, we should applaud this advances and wait with bated breath for the city-wide changes to start rolling down the tracks.
The old Transit Authority logo courtesy of flickr user AllWaysNY.