June 14, 2010

Bay Ridge Bus Cuts - What's Not in It For You

Third Avenue Bus - No More B37. Get Ready for the B70

Take a look at this B37 bus, parked in front of the Fu Lai Kitchen by 69th Street. It won't be around for long.

The Third Avenue bus began service in 1942 if I read wiki correctly, and there was streetcar service on Third Avenue before that. I believe that it always pretty much on its current route - from Fort Hamilton, all the way down Third, past the Fulton Street shopping area, up to Borough Hall.

There's one problem with a full length Third Avenue bus today - not enough people ride it between Bay Ridge or Sunset Park to downtown Brooklyn. Maybe back in the old days the service was needed, perhaps to to shop " downtown" in Fulton St - but Fulton St has been shabby for decades now, and you'll have an easier time buying most things in Century 21 anyway.

There will still be a Third Avenue bus for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park though. An existing bus, the B70 , which currently runs on Seventh and Eighth Avenues, will be rerouted so that there is a segment on Bay Ridge Avenue ( between Third and Eighth Avenues ) , and along Third Avenue ( from Bay Ridge Avenue to 95th St or wherever ) then turning up to terminate at the VA Hospital. ( edit from initial post )

This is a creative solution that allows continued bus service for our neighborhood and for the largely senior citizen ridership that like taking the bus and who don't want to take the subway.

The B1 and B64 Switcheroo

The B1 currently runs up Bay Ridge Avenue ( 69th St ), hangs a right on 13th Avenue, takes the left on 86th St, then terminates in Manhattan Beach. The B64 runs up 86th Street, swings over to Bath Avenue, then winds up in Coney Island, by the subway terminal.

These routes will basically reverse their eastern terminals. The new B64 will run up Bay Ridge Avenue and end up in Coney Island. The new B1 will run up 86th St, and wind up in Manhattan Beach. I think that the reason they're doing this is to have one bus ( the new B1 ) run pretty much the entire length of 86th St.

It's fine by me - I live near Bay Ridge Avenue, and will now have one-seat service for the occasional trip to a Brooklyn Cyclones game.

No More Express Buses on the Weekend

The X27 and X28 Express buses will no longer run on Saturdays or Sundays. To be honest, I have no problem with that. These buses have an astonishingly low ridership on the weekends - some of the buses run completely empty to and from Manhattan during daylight hours. Anyone who says that this is an essential service is full of it.

The bus service changes will inconvenience some of us to be sure. But these are tough times, and we can't afford to have services that not enough people use. Use it or lose it.

Debate welcome, and if I have made any errors, let me know.


Rubys Host said...

The B64 NO LONER COMES TO CONEY ISLAND STILLWEL STATION- there is a sign posted that states This Bus stop will no longer be in operation on June 27th. The bus will no longer go W of 13th - the Bus Terminal is where it will end. To come to CI you will either have to make 2 transfers on busses or transfer to a subway - this is why I will no longer come to Bay Ridge and spend money on dinners - etc -

The Phantom said...

Rubys Host

Then the timetable for the B64 on the MTA Website is wrong.

Rubys Host said...

Yes - it is - I live right on Stillwell and the B64 was great if I worked at Ruby's late night - I could easily get home safely. Now I either walk and put my safety at risk or pay $13 to go 1/2 down on stillwell by car - that's ridiculous but it is a safety issue. I use to go to Bay Ridge twice a week for dinner - music etc - now for me instead of the ride being 20 minutes it takes over an hour and 3 transfers- all transfers are not 1 price. It is sad that by cutting certain buses you also cut other businesses revenue.

The Phantom said...

Did they give any reason for the change on the B64?

Rubys Host said...

they said it wasn't profitable enough - funny since they just opened Luna Park and have put so much money into CI as well as the advertisements for everyone to come visit - strange since I have rarely seen the bus more than half empty. There are also 2 schools the bus passes and it is so crowded around school times - even school is out - the bus then gets more leisure riders going to CI - The are hurting their own selves by limiting buses & subways etc to CI when the city has been building it up so much from Feb. - All subways going to CI will be on limited - reduce service all summer.

Anonymous said...

The B70 will run down 3rd Avenue from 69th, not 39th, Street.

PS. Point taken, but it's not just seniors who take the bus. I take the B63 all the time instead of the R - within Bay Ridge the time is about the same, especially on weekends - and it's probably less than 1/3 seniors. The result would be similar on 3rd Avenue if the bus didn't run so infrequently (and now, even more so). There's so much business there it's kind of sad to see even less bus service.

The Phantom said...

What avenue will it travel on from 39th to 69th Street? I still don't see any good information on the new bus or subway routes on the MTA website.

If it makes the turn onto Third Avenue AT 69th Street, that that corner is going to see an unbelievable amount of bus traffic - with B70, B1, B9, X27 and X28s traveling through the intersection, and four of them making left and right turns on and off Third Avenue

I hate the Fifth Avenue bus - slowest in the universe! I like the B37 because it runs faster.

One of the people at work heard a rumor that the B9 would be eliminated or scaled back, but that does not make any sense- or does it?

Anonymous said...

The B70 will travel down 8th Avenue like it does today, but instead of continuing past Bay Ridge Av. it will turn right (well, actually at Ovington cuz that's where the bridge over the BQE is). You can find this info here:

Yep, 3rd and 69th will be busy. The B64 and B70 are both less frequent than the B1 but there should be some increase. The X27 and X37 are of course negligible.

Well, the B63 might not be the slowest bus in the universe, but it IS the slowest in Brooklyn. The only reason I take it at all is because you can walk to the corner and be pretty sure one will show up in 10 minutes or less. Well, that's what the schedule says - we all know reality is far different. Anyway, I've never taken the B37 simply because it rarely runs. And the B70 is even worse.

The B9 and many other routes will end slightly earlier (like 1AM instead of 1:45) but it doesn't say the remaining service will be cut.

The Phantom said...


Good information and thanks for that link

Tim Marman said...

The loss of the x37 hurts for anyone who works in Midtown, especially with the N train no longer running express in Manhattan. I work far enough downtown where it's not a huge impact for me, but for those who work near 42nd St (or when I took it up to 57th during my chemo treatments daily) it will add 30+ minutes to the commute each way.

I'm especially sad to see the service cut on the weekends entirely. There were often empty buses, but the bigger problem was how *frequent* the buses were. Instead of cutting service entirely, they should have run them less often (even 90 minutes instead of every 30 minutes).

The schedule was also too commuter focused. How many people go into Manhattan for dinner? And yet the last bus back was like 8pm. Anyone who ever took the 10:28pm or 11:28pm bus during weekdays knows that it's actually MUCH more crowded than the buses that run at 7pm-8:30pm.

Of course, this also amounts to a fare hike since the weekly express bus service is no longer available all 7 days.

In any case, it's a big hit for anyone who works or spends time in Manhattan, especially those of us who are west and not near the subway.

It makes me happy that I'll be moving next month...

The Phantom said...


Sorry to lose you, but--

If you are moving elsewhere in NYC, there have been similar bus/subway/express bus cutbacks in all five boroughs

If you are moving to say New Jersey, New Jersey Transit has raised fares ( incl getting rid of off peak fares ) and has reduced service on some lines.

The LIRR and Metro North have cut back service and have raised their own fares.

This is a brutal economy still, and nobody can afford to run empty or near empty buses. Even if the economy was great, a lot of these these cuts would be justified. Its fiscally and even morally wrong to run a huge bus with two or fewer passengers in it.

Bay Ridge still has good subway service during the day ( spotty at night I concede) and does still have commuter Express Bus service for those who want that sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

I was considering buying an apartment in Bay Ridge. Seven day a week express bus service was a big plus to living there as I had no intention of wasting money on a car. With no weekend express bus service Bay Ridge has become a lot less attractive as a place to live.

Alfonso said...

B63: Will it really run straight up 5th, not turning on 39th St?

@ Rhywun: It is also not unusual to see two B63's running together (heading south in Bay Ridge at least)