Our Town M57 bus dodges service cuts by Michael Garofalo
The MTA has changed course on a plan to reduce service on the crosstown M57 bus line in response to public opposition from elected officials. The transit agency won’t cut M57 service, but proposed service cuts to the M31, M66 and M72 crosstown bus routes remain in place, City Council Member Ben Kallos told Straus News.
At a July 7 meeting with elected representatives, MTA officials agreed to maintain current service levels on the M57 line, going back on an earlier proposal that would have increased headways on the route from 10 to 12 minutes during AM peak hours and from 12 to 15 minutes during PM peak hours. “The M57 was going to have the most cuts, and they’ve agreed to make no service changes to the M57,” Kallos said.
The proposed changes, scheduled to take effect in September, were first announced by MTA New York City Transit in a June 16 letter to elected officials and community boards. The letter also proposed reductions in service frequency on the M31, M66 and M72 bus lines that would increase scheduled wait times by 11 to 33 percent. Despite opposition from elected officials at the July 7 meeting, the MTA has not altered its proposal to cut service on the three lines, Kallos said.
Days after the MTA proposed the service changes, a coalition of local, state, and federal elected officials expressed their objection to the cuts in a letter to the MTA New York City Transit Acting President Darryl Irick that was signed by City Council Members Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Members Dan Quart and Rebecca Seawright, state Senators Liz Kruger, Brad Hoylman and José Serrano, and U.S. House representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler.
Representatives of each official that signed the letter were present at the July 7 meeting at which MTA officials agreed to maintain current service levels on the M57.
Kallos said that he and other elected officials would continue to push back against the proposed cuts to the M31, M66 and M72 lines. “We’re looking at massive reductions in service and losing buses every hour,” he said.
The MTA explained in its June 16 letter that the reductions in service frequency would “more closely align service with customer demand and meet established bus loading guidelines.”
Kallos said he would also continue to advocate for the MTA to release farebox data on bus ridership used by the agency to determine service levels, which the MTA has thus far declined to share publicly. “They have to show us the data that supports why they need to make these changes,” Kallos said.
The MTA did not respond to a request for comment on the proposed service changes.