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Testimony to the MTA Transit Committee on the Bronx Bus Redesign

Good morning, I’m Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). Last week, in a highly unusual but much-appreciated move, Chair Janno Lieber stopped by a press conference highlighting Bus Rider Blues and said, “You know who else is dissatisfied with bus service? This guy.” A big step in finding the solution is acknowledging the problem. Fixing it takes even more effort, and while we anticipate that tweaks will continue to be made, we applaud the MTA for listening to thousands of Bronxites, going back and reviewing their comments studying new, pandemic-formed data, and making a true effort to address the needs of bus riders.

Buses support the people who support New York. They are the backbone of our transit system. Janno said it best himself: “Buses are the engine of equity” around the region. Throughout COVID and the overnight subway closures it brought, and with the extreme weather we’ve seen, buses have come to the rescue of millions of New Yorkers.

That’s why it’s so important that the redesigned routes meet riders’ needs by increasing the speed, efficiency, and reliability of the Bronx’s transit network, and beyond. The current redesign will strengthen mobility with A.B.L.E., protected bus lanes, TSP, east-west connection priority corridors, and increased frequencies. Reducing congestion with new busways in Soundview and on high-traffic streets like Fordham Road, East 149th and 181st Streets is also key to speeding up routes that Bronx riders depend on.

The plan leaves room for better bus connectivity to the 13 existing Bronx Metro-North stations, not to mention the four new stations planned with Penn Access.  Continuing to improve connections between buses and subways and commuter rail stations is crucial to building a more equitable transit system that reaches every corner of the five boroughs. Additionally, tens of thousands of people who work and travel to LaGuardia airport from the Bronx would benefit from a direct bus: just a few miles away, yet it’s a long journey using transit. Please be sure to include it in the Queens redesign.

We’re looking forward to seeing the transformed Bronx bus network and thank you for your efforts to improve bus service in the Bronx. Thank you.