X27 Service Restored: Weekend express buses coming back

This fall, Ridgeites will be able to travel by bus to Manhattan on weekends once again with the restoration of X27 weekend service.

In addition, a stop will be added in Bay Ridge on X17 service from Staten Island “to serve former riders of the discontinued X28 weekend service,” according to a July 19 letter from Joseph Lhota, chairperson of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), to Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, who had pressed for the restoration of two-year-old service cuts through an online petition, “Give Me My Bus Back.”

The announcement came the same day amidst a slew of service restorations, and was immediately applauded by local residents and elected officials.

“It’s really good news in the fight to bring better transportation options to the community,” remarked Malliotakis, who said she would keep pushing for the restoration of other service such as weekend buses on the X37, X28 and X38, and who pointed out that the MTA’s ability to provide service to riders was directly related to the amount of funding it had available.

To that end, Malliotakis said, she had “worked closely with MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli in successfully lobbying Governor Cuomo to waive $50 million in bond fees” that the authority would normally turn over to the state for the current fiscal year.

That money, said Malliotakis, paid for the X27 weekend service restoration as well as the restoration of the full route of the B64 (see other story on this page) and numerous other bus lines in Brooklyn and Staten Island. The service restorations, according to Lhota’s letter, “will be phased in over the course of a year beginning in October 2012.”

Legislation to make the waiver permanent, sponsored by Malliotakis in the Assembly and State Senator Marty Golden in the Senate, is currently pending.

Golden – who also sponsored a petition — also applauded the service restoration, contending that it “will improve the quality of life of thousands of people who depend on the New York City Transit Authority for their travel means. As MTA revenue has increased, I applaud them for going back to the maps and looking where people have been left stranded, and from that, move to improve the system’s efficiency.”

City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who also organized a petition drive aimed at the restoration of service, concurred. “Restoring weekend express bus service is something I’ve been fighting for since 2010,” he noted. “In those two years, rarely a day has gone by without a constituent coming to my office to ask when this service would be restored. This is a major victory for our community.”

Waiting for an X27 to arrive, regular rider Renee Setteducato was excited to hear the news. Pointing out that Bay Ridge has one of the highest densities of senior citizens in the country,” Setteducato noted, “I have some senior citizen neighbors and friends who depend on this bus. They don’t want to go underground in the subways. They depend on their cell phones and they’re frightened.

“This provides a service to senior citizens and to everybody else who doesn’t feel like moving their cars, getting their tickets,” she added. “I’m thrilled to death about this! It’s convenient, it’s comfortable, it’s wonderful.”

Additional reporting contributed by Meaghan McGoldrick.

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