Manhattan Beach

Colton, TWU demand better service on B1 bus line

June 9, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The B1 bus travels along 86th Street in Bensonhurst on its way to Manhattan Beach. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

The B1 bus line, which runs between 86th Street and Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge and Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach, is badly in need of a service upgrade, according to a local lawmaker and leaders of a transportation union.

But Assemblymember William Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) and Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) aren’t demanding that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) put more buses on the B1 line.

Instead, they are calling on the MTA to make changes to the existing service that they say will greatly improve things for riders.

Specifically, Colton and the union want the MTA to introduce Limited Service on the B1 bus line, a move that would have the bus make express stops between Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach and Bay Ridge.

Colton has also started a petition on www.moveon.org aimed at convincing the MTA to offer Limited Service on the B1. The petition is also available at Colton’s office at 155 Kings Highway.

The B1 has been plagued by chronic bus lateness, excessive passenger overcrowding and infrequent service for several years, according to Colton, who said his constituents have complained that often they have to wait for long periods of time at bus-stops for a B1to arrive, sometimes spending 20 to 30 minutes waiting. Constituents also told Colton that the B1 is always crowded, regardless of the time of day.

Simply adding more local buses to the B1 route might worsen road congestion without significantly enhancing performance and efficiency, Colton and TWU-Local 100 leaders said.

But installing Limited Service could help alleviate headaches for riders, Colton said.

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“The B1 services many important areas of our community, including the busy, commercial shopping area of 86th Street. It’s clear that there are some serious problems plaguing this bus route, including frequent bus lateness, irregular service, and excessive passenger overcrowding regardless of the time of day. Implementing weekday Limited Service on the B1 bus line will help alleviate these problems, which are hindering the quality of life of local residents,” he said.

Limited Service would also make for a more comfortable ride for Kingsborough Community College students who take the B1, Colton said.

With a large number of students enrolled at Kingsborough,  the buses often become full with passengers at the Kingsborough bus stop in Manhattan Beach, creating overcrowding, irregular service, and delays on the entire bus line, according to Colton.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency is working to alleviate problems on the B1 line and that all options are under consideration.

“We are working to address the issues of customers traveling to and from Kingsborough Community College and those along the route. We will also be meeting with Kingsborough Community College administration to better understand their concerns and identify potential areas where we can work together to improve service. There are no plans for a limited route at this time, but all options will be considered within financial and operational constraints,” Ortiz told the Brooklyn Eagle via email. 

Ortiz, added, however, that the MTA believes Limited Service will not help B1 overcrowding issues related to Kingsborough Community College (KCC).

“The majority of B1 customers at KCC (over 60% according to our data) transfer to the B/Q trains, making the very short trip between KCC and Brighton Beach station. Given the short distance and few stops between those two points, the students that are the source of the crowding issue would see no fundamental difference between a local and a limited as both would get them to the train in the same amount of time,” he said.

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