The MTA has restored weekend express bus service to Manhattan from our area, but will be keeping a close eye on ridership.
Saturday and Sunday service on the X28 bus route, which was discontinued in 2010 as part of Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) budget cuts, has been restored for a six-month trial period starting Sunday, September 4th. The X28 route enables residents from neighborhoods like Sea Gate, Coney Island, Bensonhurst, and Dyker Heights to travel to Downtown and Midtown Manhattan.
The return of the X28 bus is “great for those who work on Saturdays and Sundays, or who wish to travel to Manhattan on weekends to shop, dine or see a show,” said State Senator Marty Golden (R), a member of the MTA’s Capital Review Board, in a statement.
Will X28 weekend service become permanent?
“The key is ridership,” answered John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff for Senator Golden. “We have to send the message to the MTA. If the numbers are there, it’s [making the case for permanent weekend service] easy.”
“[But] if the numbers are low, it could be eliminated,” Quaglione continued. “Now we have to use it and show the MTA that the petition drives and emails were all backed up by ridership.”
The MTA will review demand statistics for the X28 in six months, Quaglione said, and may tweak the weekend schedule. He added that it was reasonable to assume the state agency would try out weekend service for a full year, noting that there will be ebbs and flows in usage. Manhattan-bound demand is likely to increase during the holidays, and may drop later in the winter, he said.
Weekday ridership on the X28 in 2015 grew by seven percent over the previous year, according to NYC Transit.
Restoring X28 service on Saturdays and Sundays meets a critical transportation need in our area. “This service will also remove the barrier that has prevented seniors and the disabled from going into Manhattan on the weekends,” Senator Golden noted in his statement.
“We’ve stressed the accessibility issues,” Quaglione added, pointing out that there is only one area subway station with an elevator, which is located at Bay Parkway and 86th Street. “All people should have access,” he said. “Transportation is based on convenience and accessibility.”
And, Quaglione noted, weekend express service is “good for the city all around.” Manhattanites and tourists can take the X28 to southern Brooklyn to check out local waterfront activity and street festivals.
For years, a broad coalition of southern Brooklyn elected officials, including Senator Golden, Councilman Vincent Gentile, Councilman Mark Treyger, Senator Diane J. Savino, Assemblyman William Colton, and Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, have called on the MTA to restore this service to southern Brooklyn, citing lengthy travel times to and from Manhattan, as well as overcrowding.
The restoration of X28 service is part of a promising trend for southern Brooklyn residents, Councilman Treyger said earlier this summer.
“We are seeing the fruits of our labor,” Treyger stated. “First, we recently saw the commitment for express service on the F train. Now, we are seeing really positive progress on getting weekend service on the X28 restored…We just want to get back the transit services that were taken from us.”
The X27 bus also came back into service last year and is still in operation, Quaglione noted.
X28 weekend service will operate as it did prior to the 2010 service cuts, beginning its route on Saturdays and Sundays at West 37th Street/Surf Avenue, where Coney Island meets Sea Gate. The bus then stops in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge; heads on to lower Manhattan, 23rd and 42nd Streets; and finally terminates at East 57th Street/Madison Avenue in Midtown.
The frequency is also the same as in 2010 — running every 30 to 40 minutes on Saturdays; and every 30 to 60 minutes on Sundays.
On Saturdays, X28 Manhattan-bound service will operate from 6am to 8:30pm; and Brooklyn-bound service will run from 7:35am to 10:05pm.
Sunday Manhattan-bound service will operate from 7am to 7:30pm; and Brooklyn-bound service will run from 8:35am to 9:05pm.
“We’re excited that it’s back,” Quaglione said.
Rachel Silberstein contributed to this story.