By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn residents lost the B37 bus three years ago, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority eliminated the Bay Ridge to downtown Brooklyn bus line.
At the time, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) vowed to fight to get the MTA to restore the B37. Gentile said he is continuing his fight.
In his latest effort, Gentile is teaming up with a coalition of local community organizations, his colleague, Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez 9D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) and Transport Workers Union Local 100 to organize a petition drive to bring the bus line back.
The petition also calls for the restoration of station booths along the N/R and the installation of elevators in the subways.
The B37 ran along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park. In downtown Brooklyn, the bus stopped in front of the Adams Street entrance of the New York State Supreme Court building.
“The MTA has received $40 million more than it requested from Albany this year so now is the prime time to call on the governor and the MTA Board to use some of this money to restore services that were cut in 2010,” Gentile said. “The B37 was absolutely vital to this community. It was our neighborhood’s connection to Sunset Park, Park Slope, Lutheran Hospital and downtown Brooklyn,” he said.
“The MTA Board will be presenting a budget proposal in July, and it is up to us to ensure that the community’s voice is included in that plan,” Gentile added.
Gentile urged residents to stop by his district office at 8705 Third Ave. to sign the petition. An online petition is also in the works, he said.
The participation of TWU Local 100 in the petition drive is significant, Gentile said. He pointed out that TWU Local 100 represents most of the men and women who drive and maintain public buses in New York City.
MTA spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said the agency eliminated the B37 because the bus line had few riders. “The B37 was discontinued in 2010 due to low average ridership and its proximity to the R train,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Riders were not left stranded, Parker said. The B70 was rerouted to replace the segment of the B37 south of Bay Ridge Avenue,” she said.
Still, Parker said the MTA wouldn’t dismiss Gentile’s petition. “We have not yet received Councilman Gentile’s petition. When we do, we will review it and give it careful consideration,” she said.