Refused Late Night Request-A-Stop, Neighbor Files Official Complaint

Under the “Request A Stop” rule, bus riders can ask operators to be dropped off anywhere along the route between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The bus operator “will comply,” says the MTA, “as long as he or she thinks it’s a safe location.” The MTA lists the rule under its “Riding Safely” guidelines.

On Monday night, neighbor Lorna Keuning walked out of a nighttime showing of Anna Karenina at about 9:30 p.m. After waiting a half hour, she was on the BM1 bus headed home. She asked her bus driver to drop her off at Beverly Road and Coney Island Avenue — not a BM1 stop but an actual bus stop positioned along the BM1’s route nevertheless. Unless the stop is unsafe, it falls within the scope of Request A Stop.

Lorna wrote about the ride in her blog:

The bus driver refused. She insisted that she couldn’t make the stop. I tried to remind her that she could because it was after 10pm, but she still refused. I asked the bus driver for her name or ID and the name of her direct supervisor. She refused to give me that information, but I got the bus number.
At nearly 11pm she passed my stop at Beverly Road and Coney Island Avenue and dropped me off on a deserted Cortelyou Road at nearly 11pm forcing me to walk an extra five blocks through some deserted streets.

The rider was dropped off at Cortelyou and Stratford Roads, a “three or four block extra walk,” she clarified.

Lorna called up the MTA and may end up testifying against the driver. She views the rule as an important safety issue. It’s unclear if the bus driver considered the stop unsafe but Lorna’s account makes it seem as though the driver offered no explanation in her refusal.

There are a number of options for lodging complaints in situations like this. The MTA website offers a phone number (718-330-3322) and online contact forms. Straphangers.org offers a wider range of options including specific important individuals within the city’s transportation bureaucracy.

Has anyone else used (or attempted to use) the Request A Stop rule? What has your experience been?

Photo: Gene Han

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