Pols call for more buses, but MTA is unmoved

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Marilyn Capellan says during the summer, she can handle long waits for the Bx10 bus at the crowded stop where West 231st Street and Broadway meet. But during the school year, when she has a 9-year-old son in tow, things can get tricky.

“If you missed one bus, you’re stuck until like the next half an hour or 45 minutes,” Ms. Capellan, 27, said Monday night while waiting in line. “He’s like, can’t we take a cab? Can’t we just go? Because it’s a long wait.”

After receiving “countless” complaints from people like Ms. Capellan, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and state Sen. Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein are calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to add more buses to the Bx7 and Bx10 lines.

The politicians held a press conference on the matter on West 231st Street on August 7 after months of discussions with the MTA that they described as fruitless.

“It’s a very simple solution. More buses, less overcrowding. More buses, shorter weights. That’s what we’re asking for,” said Mr. Dinowitz.

While the officials criticized overcrowding, long waits and the vexing tendency for multiple buses to arrive all at once after such pauses, the MTA said it has no intention of making any changes.

Spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the MTA’s latest analysis shows adequate service on the Bx7 bus, which runs between Riverdale and Washington Heights, and the Bx10, which goes between Riverdale and Norwood.

He added that the body could “split” one of those lines to create a new route with more direct service between Riverdale and the West 242nd Street station, but that that would create even longer waits for some passengers. Mr. Ortiz also said such a line would run through residential neighborhoods — a tough sell to homeowners.

“Our Bus Operations unit will continue to monitor the bus stop at 231st Street and Broadway and work with the New York City Department of Transportation in order to find other ways to alleviate the congestion,” Mr. Ortiz concluded in an e-mail.

When asked what legislative tools local elected officials could use to pressure the MTA, Mr. Klein pointed out the body goes to the state legislature for funding. But he said it would be hard to allocate funds for specific buses. 

Mr. Dinowitz suggested the MTA is out of touch with commuters in the northwest Bronx.

“It’s easy for someone who’s in Manhattan or Brooklyn or wherever they are to say that there’s adequate service,” he remarked. “Maybe [MTA Chairman Thomas] Prendergast should visit us. We’d welcome him. Come here at 7 o’clock in the evening, when the worst of it is here.”

Most commuters said they would welcome more buses.

“You don’t want to miss one, because there’s not going to be one for a very long time,” said Miriam Kelly, 56. “In the winter, you don’t want to know!”

Still, one bus rider said she was actually against expanding service. Allison Blumgold said the intersection of West 231st Street and Broadway is too crowded and that more buses would only worsen the situation.

“They have too many vendors on the street. It’s starting to look like Fordham Road,” said Ms. Blumgold, 53. “There’s no need to add more buses… I don’t need to breathe in their exhaust.”

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