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Bronx Bus Network Redesign Public Meeting Testimony

Good evening! I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). As someone who grew up riding buses in the Bronx, thank you for continuing the public review process and for prioritizing riders’ concerns.

Twenty-one months and a pandemic later, the spirit of the bus redesign rings truer than ever: buses are the backbone of our transit system. Throughout COVID and the overnight subway closures it brought, and with the extreme weather we’ve seen, buses have come to the rescue of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.

Buses support the people who support New York. That’s why it’s so important that the Bronx Bus Redesign move forward with public input: meeting riders’ needs by increasing the speed, efficiency, and reliability of the Bronx’s transit network, and beyond.

The current redesign will strengthen mobility around the borough, with Automated Bus Lane Enforcement, protected bus lanes, TSP, east-west connection priority corridors, and increased frequencies. Reducing congestion with new busways on high-traffic streets like Fordham Road, East 149th and 181st Streets will also be key to speeding up routes that Bronx riders depend on.

But the plan leaves room for better bus connectivity to the 13 Bronx Metro-North stations that already exist, not to mention the four new stations planned with Penn Access. Now is the time to bridge the gap between Bronx buses and commuter rail, with the coming of OMNY and as you look at fare policies – including, we hope, our Freedom Ticket discount commuter rail fare proposal, that would also provide transfers to subways and buses.

Bronxites would also benefit from a direct bus to LaGuardia Airport. Tens of thousands of people work and travel to the airport from the Bronx: just a few miles away, yet, it’s a long journey using transit. If not in the Bronx redesign, please include it in the Queens redesign.

Continuing to improve connections between buses and subways and commuter rail stations is crucial to building an equitable transit system that reaches every corner of the five boroughs. We’re looking forward to seeing the transformed Bronx bus network and hope that you continue to listen to the needs of riders throughout implementation. Thank you.