Bloomberg Extends Private Bus Authority
Mayor Bloomberg has signed a City Council bill that will extend the operating authority for four private bus franchises, three of which operate in Rockaway. The four lines were given the authority to continue operations until November 30. The three lines that impact Rockaway are The Green Bus Line, Jamaica Bus Lines and Triboro Bus. Command Bus is also involved in the operating extension.
The city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been negotiating for more than two years to take over the three lines. The four are the only remaining private franchises in the city. Three other lines have been taken over by the city during the past year.
“This [extension] will allow for a smooth transition of these bus routes without any inconvenience to their riders,” Bloomberg said in signing the bill. “As I have said in the past, I believe that the MTA, which is charged with the responsibility of providing affordable mass transportation for the people of our metropolitan area, has the requisite economies of scale and transportation expertise to provide the highest quality of service for the riding public. The transfer of these routes to the MTA brings us one step closer to achieving one unified and streamlined bus system.”
The four private bus companies provide service to more than 137,000 riders daily on 693 buses that run 51 routes between Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.
The takeover of the four routes by the city was originally scheduled for July 31, but a variety of concerns, including pensions, the transfer of the bus depots and union representation slowed the agreement.