Bronx boro's bus & subway lines overloaded with new commuters - report


BY Dorian Block



Monday, March 16th 2009, 7:46 PM




A jam-packed No. 2 train leaves the Simpson St. stop in Longwood.


In the Bronx, the wheels on the bus are going round and round. And on the subway, too.


While politicians debate whether or not to rescue the MTA to prevent fare hikes and service cuts, a new report shows the borough had the largest increase in bus ridership in the city over the past five years.

An average of 558,919 people rode the bus in the Bronx on weekdays in 2008, which is 43,840 more people than in 2003, says a report called “Transit Overload” put out by the Center for an Urban Future.


Twenty Bronx subway stations also had 50% or greater increases in riders.


“This shows how dependent this borough is on public transportation. It is extraordinary,” said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future.


“More of the Manhattan workforce has had to move to the outer boroughs. For the most part, new immigrants do not have cars,” he continued. “The rise in congestion and oil prices nationwide and in New York has been pushing people to transit.”


As in past years, the Yankee Stadium, Third Ave. at 149th St. and Parkchester subway stops saw the most riders.


But the station with the largest percentage growth of ridership was Bronx Park East — below Pelham Parkway near the Bronx Zoo — with 2,897 riders passing through daily last year, compared with 1,450 per day in 1998.


The station’s booth attendant said he saw more and more people from the car-heavy neighborhood coming through the turnstiles as gas prices rose.


The next largest rider increase was at Simpson St. in Longwood, a busy commercial hub at Westchester Ave. and Southern Blvd., where 9,375 people hop on the train daily.


Joey Rodriguez, 35, an auto mechanic, said he has to make sure to take trips in the middle of the day when transporting his mother in her wheelchair.


“Mornings and afternoons, there are a lot of people,” he said. “There is no room for a seat.”


Ralph Betesh, owner of the Double Discount clothing and home goods store under the elevated stop, joked that the herds of people coming out of the station at rush hour have him thinking, “Maybe I’d build a pole so all the people have to go through my store to get out. But I don’t think the city would like that.”


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