Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Proposed Bronx to LaGuardia Bus Line Remains Unfunded

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Bronx bus riders hoping to catch a one-seat ride to LaGuardia Airport will have to wait a little longer than originally hoped, as a nearly two-year-old plan languishes in the planning stage. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

There's already one select bus service Line running between Manhattan and LaGuardia Airport.

"It's a business airport, so principally, people are going to get there via taxis and private car services. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a significant ridership for good, quality, fast, well-marketed mass transportation access," says Stephen Sigmund, executive director of Global Gateway Alliance.

Riders shouldn't expect a Bronx airport link via the speedier buses anytime soon, even after the city's Department of Transportation introduced a proposal in 2012 to connect the Bx41 SBS line to LaGuardia.

An agency spokeswoman says the plan to extend the line to LaGuardia isn't funded right now—disappointing those who want the speedier service, where riders pay fares beforehand.

"Until they make it a top priority, it's going to be always be on the back burner and you'll have this problem," says Sigmund.

"Someone's going to have to step forward and show some leadership, whether it's the DOT or the MTA, and step up and really put some money aside for these projects. They don't cost a lot compared to subway projects, but at the same time, the money does have to come from somewhere," says public policy analyst John Petro.

At a state Assembly hearing last week, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said that extending the Webster Avenue line over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and into Queens could take two to three more years.

The Bx41 SBS debuted in July 2013.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says ridership on the Bx41 has increased to 25,000 riders a day since the line went from offering limited service to select bus service last year. Some riders we spoke with said it would gain even more popularity once it extends to LaGuardia.

"It would be better for the people in the Bronx to get around. You know, like in Manhattan, they got the M60. If they had one from here to LaGuardia, it's good. They need something like that here," said one rider.

"If we could get faster, maybe they could speed up the process and go on the 41 bus," another said.

Alternatively, the process could just keep poking along.

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