Assemblyman William Colton and the Transport Workers Union [TWU-Local 100] are calling on the MTA to implement a weekday, limited service for the beleaguered B1 bus line between Kingsborough Community College [KCC] and Bay Ridge.
The assemblyman sent the MTA a letter this month explaining the need for additional service on the B1 route, which has long been plagued by lateness, overcrowding, and other service problems. TWU — Local 100 sent a similar letter requesting the limited service on the B1, Colton said.
“The B1 services many important areas of our community, including the busy, commercial shopping area of 86th Street,” said Colton. “I will continue working to improve public transit services in southwest Brooklyn, especially service on the B1 bus line. 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.”
In his letter, the assemblyman cited a spike in enrollment at KCC for contributing to the strain on bus service. During the 2011-2012 school year, enrollment at the college exceeded 20,000 students during the spring/summer semester, he said. Colton also noted that the number of regular and interline runs on the B1 decreased from 696 total “school open” trips in the winter of 2014 to 523 total trips in the winter of 2015.
Due to the sheer number of KCC students who utilize the B1, buses often fill up with passengers at the Kingsborough bus stop in Manhattan Beach, contributing to overcrowding and service issues farther down on the route, according to the assemblyman.
Since adding more local buses to the route may worsen road congestion without significantly enhancing performance and efficiency, Colton said he and TWU-Local 100 are only requesting an additional weekday, limited bus service, and are asking neighbors to sign the petition, available online and at Colton’s office (155 Kings Highway).
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the MTA said there currently are no plans for an additional B1 route and that it is unlikely a limited bus route would alleviate overcrowding issues at 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,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “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.”
Ortiz said that much of the frustration is coming from commuters attempting to board between KCC and the subway, where they are frequently bypassed by buses that are already filled with students.
“Adding limited service would not address this issue either. However, we will work on addressing the issues of customers traveling to and from Kingsborough Community College and those along the route,” said Ortiz. “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.”
The B1 serves thousands of Southern Brooklynite each day. The bus line runs from Manhattan Beach, through Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, and Dyker Heights, to Bay Ridge — including through the busy, commercial streets of Avenue X and 86th Street.
Colton says he and TWU-Local 100 have been working to improve public transit services in Southern Brooklyn for several years. In 2011 and 2012, they successfully rallied to restore B64 bus service to Coney Island. Colton and TWU-Local 100 have also been working to restore weekend service on the X28 Express Bus and to restore the F subway line’s express service.