More Than 1,500 Islanders Show up to Protest Bus Cuts, 400 at Similar Hearing in Queens
(Albany) State Senator Diane J. Savino, unable to attend due to voting session at the State Capitol, thanked Islanders for turning out to last night’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) hearing concerning cuts Staten Island’s express bus service. Slated for elimination are the X1, X6, X9, S54, S76, S42, S60, X16, X18, and X20. The X13 and X14 are to be consolidated.
More than 1,500 Staten Island residents attended the hearing, which was held at the College of Staten Island. Due to limits in capacity, numerous attendees were turned away.
“I am very proud of my fellow Islanders for turning out in numbers far greater than expected. If the MTA didn’t know how important our buses are, they know now,” said Senator Savino.
Senator Savino has staunchly defended outer borough express bus service, launching both an online bus service survey and an online petition to stop the cuts, as well as personally soliciting signatures and survey responses from commuters at bus stops.
“We cannot let up on the pressure, I urge every Islander to press the battle, talk to your fellow bus riders and family members about last night’s hearing, get them to sign our online petition and fill out an express bus rider survey.”
The petition and survey can be found on the Senator’s website at http://www.nysenate.gov/petition/tell-mta-no-express-bus-reductions .
Held at the same time, the Queens hearing divided the MTA board. Some 400 residents attended the Queens hearing, where six of the seventeen board members were present, including Chairman Jay Walder. Only three board members attended the Island hearing: Allen Cappelli, Jeff Kay and Mitchell Pally.
“I find it insulting that Staten Islanders cannot even get their own hearing. There were 1,500 Island residents attending last night’s hearing, desperate to protect their bus service. Five board members listened to 400 Queens residents, while we apparently only merited three. I call on the full board to come and hear how these proposed cuts will devastate Staten Island, in a venue accessible by mass transit and with a greater capacity, like the St. George Theatre.”
Senator Savino called on the MTA to hold individual hearings in each of the boroughs. The MTA will host hearings in both the Bronx and Brooklyn, dividing the board again.