2003-10-03 / Editorial/Opinion

Need A Quick Solution To Private Bus Problem

Need A Quick Solution To Private Bus Problem

Rockaway residents rely inordinately on the private bus services that are heavily subsidized by the city. Three of the services, in particular, impact heavily on Rockaway life – The Green Bus (which provides transportation up and down the peninsula and to other parts of Brooklyn and Queens), Jamaica Bus (which provides transportation to the vital Archer Avenue link) and Triboro Bus (which provides commuter buses to Manhattan). Although these three lines are private, they are subsidized to the tune of $100 million annually. The city developed a plan for the state’s MTA to take over the lines, but that plan seems dead because of the costs associated with the takeover and running the lines. Those who own the lines have been effectively cut out of the loop by both the city and the state and are angry. The Green Bus now has 15 fewer buses running on the peninsula than last year at this time. This has caused more than a mere inconvenience for Rockaway residents. Students who attend schools off the peninsula and who need to get to classes on time have faced late and crowded buses and, at times, no buses at all. Commuters have similar problems. Buses are dirtier. They are in disrepair because the lines are not buying spare parts. The lack of buses has even become a danger. Rockaway public schools now run until 3:40 p.m. on Tuesdays. The bus contracts, however, call for pickups at 2:40 p.m. Green Bus, which runs many school-related runs, has refused to come at the later time. At many schools, the buses show up at 2:40, wait until 2:50 and then leave empty, never to return until the next day. Two weeks ago, a young girl from MS 180 was slashed by a rival because she was forced to walk home through "enemy" territory. We need a quick solution to this problem. Providing more subsidies to those who are providing poor service is not the answer. Either the city or the state has to take over the lines, or find a public company that can do the job without subsidies. That is easier said than done, but the demands of an isolated populace such as ours demands that something must be done to address its needs.

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