For many Bx20 and Bx34 riders, the MTAs service cuts that went into effect this week amounted to not just a headache, but also a fare hike by 100%.
As of June 27, there is no longer off-peak service on the Bx20, and no weekend or overnight service on the Bx34. During these times, many riders now have to take two buses in order to transfer to a subway. Unlike the first transfer, the second is not free, which means countless riders are being unfairly double-charged to gain access to a subway.
For example, previously residents in Riverdale could take the Bx20 to the A train. Now during off-peak hours, they must take the Bx10 to the Bx7, and then pay an additional full fare to board the A train. Similarly, residents in Woodlawn could previously take the Bx34 to the 4 train. Now on weekends, they must take the Bx31 to the Bx16, and pay again to board the 4 train (and there is no overnight bus service to the 4 train whatsoever). For commuters who regularly ride during the affected times, this can mean a huge increase in travel expenses.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) wrote to the MTA this week to propose a solution. He requested that during the affected times, riders on the Bx7 and Bx16 be offered electronic paper transfer cards so they can transfer to the A and 4 trains free of charge. Such paper transfers are already offered to bus riders who pay with coins rather than a MetroCard.
It was bad enough that the MTA board whose members are appointed by Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg unanimously voted to curtail service on the Bronx 20 and 34 buses. Its outrageous that they have added insult to injury by doubling the transportation costs of some commuters. This must change, said Assemblyman Dinowitz.