ONLY ON BENSONHURST BEAN: Despite the push by a local coalition urging the return of weekend service on the X28 express bus, the MTA has informed Bensonhurst Bean that service restoration is highly unlikely.
The X28 saw weekend service slashed entirely from the route in June of 2010 due to budget constraints. As we reported on Monday, a coalition of local groups and elected officials – including Councilman Vincent Gentile and Assemblyman William Colton, Bensonhurst West End Community Council, People’s Coalition of Coney Island, and more – are demanding that the MTA restore weekend service to compensate for the year-long closure of the Montague tunnel, which carries the R train into Manhattan and is expected to wreak havoc on commutes to and from western Brooklyn when it takes effect.
But the MTA told Bensonhurst Bean that there’s insufficient demand for the line to justify the expense, especially since a large stretch of the X28 ridership are served by the D line. Towards the western stretch of the route, former X28 weekend passengers are served by an X17 bus stop at 86th Street near the Gowanus Expressway, a stop created specifically to compensate for the loss of X28 service.
“The weekend X28 route had low ridership (760 customers) and duplicated D subway service,” MTA spokesperson Deirdre Parker wrote in an email to Bensonhurst Bean. “Many other former X28 customers have started using the DFNQ subways on weekends, in some cases transferring from local buses.”
Overall, though, the service is just too expensive to restore when riders have other options.
“On a cost per passenger basis, express bus service is far more costly to operate than either local bus service or subway service,” Parker noted.
Gentile’s office has little concern about the expense required to bring weekend service back, saying the agency has managed to find funds in the past.
“The MTA has a knack for suddenly finding money behind filing cabinets and underneath old mattresses. This year Albany gave the MTA $40 million more than they asked for. It would make sense, first and foremost, to put some of that $40 million towards restoring services that were cut,” said Justin Brannan, Gentile’s director of communications and legislative affairs.
Brannan added that seniors and the disabled in neighborhoods like Bath Beach or Bensonhurst’s West End will continue to suffer as long as the MTA drags its feet. Those neighborhoods, along with Sea Gate and western Coney Island, were once served on weekends by the X28 and now have to take a bus to a subway to get to Manhattan, rather than their one-ride commute.
“For seniors and the disabled, getting to Manhattan on the weekend from Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Sea Gate or Coney Island without the x28 is like running the gauntlet,” Branna said. “The MTA needs to understand that people truly relied on this weekend express bus service to get where they had to go – let’s stop acting like the weekend x28 was a luxury.”