Bronxites to rally against planned service cuts to bus lines

Wednesday, April 21st 2010, 4:00 AM

Angry Bronxites are joining riders and transit workers across the nation to protest planned service cuts to mass transit systems.

The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning to eliminate two Bronx bus lines and curtail service on a raft of other routes.

"We understand there has to be some cuts, but the cuts they've made are horrendous," said Co-op City resident Al Quattlebaum, who rides the Bx26. Its route is being modified so it will no longer serve Section 5 of Co-op City.

"You have seniors that rely on these buses to go to the hospitals and doctor's appointments," he said. "To eliminate these services is unacceptable."

Bronxites plan to rally at a town hall meeting at the Bartow Community Center Thursday at 7:30 p.m. A May 4 rally is also set for City Hall.

Quattlebaum said emotions are running so high in Co-op City that he expects up to 600 people to turn out for the rally.

The Bronx Bx25 and Bx14 bus lines will be eliminated and service on other lines, such as the Bx10 and Bx34, reduced. Eight bus lines - the Bx5, Bx8, Bx15, Bx26, Bx28, Bx30, Bx39 and Bx41 - will be rerouted to compensate.

With bus and subway riders facing service cuts or fare hikes in more than 150 cities across the country, transit advocates and union members fighting layoffs held rallies Tuesday to highlight the need for government funds in Atlanta, Detroit, Washington and other cities.

More than 80% of transit systems in the country, including NJTransit and the MTA, are resorting to layoffs, service cuts and fare hikes to stay afloat.

"This is not a New York City crisis, it's a national crisis," said Local 100 organizer J.P. Patafio.

Doris Cloud, 78, takes the B51 - another route slated for elimination - from Brooklyn to Manhattan for doctor's appointments. She shuns the subway.

"I don't know how'd I get to work without this bus," she said. "I guess I'd walk over the Manhattan Bridge or take the subway, which is something I don't want to do. The subways are packed. They're dirty. They're not as reliable as this bus."

This story originally appeared in the New York Daily News on April 21, 2010 and is available here: