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Gustavo Rivera, Bronx Straphangers Call for Much More Select Bus Service

1:38 PM EDT on April 13, 2012

Fordham-area residents know Select Bus Service better than anyone. The city's first rapid bus line opened along Fordham Road in 2008, and by all accounts it's been a success. Bus speeds are up 20 percent, and that's lured 30 percent more riders. In fact, Bronx residents like Select Bus Service so much, they're asking for more of it.

At a town hall meeting on transit issues hosted by State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Transportation Alternatives last night, expanding Select Bus Service emerged as a top priority for the 30 residents in attendance.

The neighborhood has already been selected to receive more of the improved bus service, along Webster Avenue. There's currently no scheduled roll-out date for Webster Avenue SBS, however, and town hall attendees were eager to know when they'd get a faster north-south ride, said T.A. public transit campaign manager Ya-Ting Liu. Bus service on Webster is currently the most unreliable in the borough.

In a previous transit town hall, Assembly Member Vanessa Gibson also lent her support to the Webster Avenue SBS plans.

On top of that, town hall participants also wanted to see SBS come to the Grand Concourse. With close to 40,000 trips each weekday on the two local bus routes running down the Concourse, bus improvements there could have an enormous impact.

Rivera, who plans to bring up Grand Concourse Select Bus Service with the MTA and DOT, appears to be emerging as one of Albany's foremost champions for transit riders. Earlier this month, he gave a speech on the Senate floor blasting legislators for raiding dedicated MTA funds, saddling the MTA with debt, and generally leaving the transit system underfunded.

Rivera said this in a statement released today:

My constituents in the Bronx depend on mass transit to get to and from work each and every day. It is clear that Bronxites understand that if they are paying a higher fare, they should be receiving better service. Our transportation town hall meeting was a success, not only because we worked to identify transit issues in the Bronx, but more importantly, because our discussion revolved around identifying potential solutions. I look forward to working with community leaders and transit riders to improve service in the Bronx and will continue to push for better funding for the MTA at the state-level.

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