By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will restore weekend service on the X27 express bus that links Bay Ridge and Manhattan.
Starting in October, the X27, which runs from Shore Road to midtown, will once again operate on Saturdays and Sundays, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota told local officials on Thursday.
Weekend service on the X27 was eliminated in June 2010 as a cost-cutting measure. The agency also eliminated or curtailed service on other bus lines, including the B37 on Third Avenue.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who said she was pleased that Bay Ridge residents will be able to ride the X27 on weekends again, added that she believed pressure from lawmakers and the public, along with MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota’s recognition of importance of public transportation to southwest Brooklyn, led to the announcement.
“I made it very clear when I first ran for public office that restoring services that had been cut was a top priority. I was so frustrated that the MTA increased tolls on bridges and tunnels and decreased service. It was unfair,” she said.
Lhota, who took the job earlier this year, was not head of the MTA when the drastic cuts were first put in. “The new chairman has demonstrated a willingness to work with us,” Malliotakis said.
She pointed to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s agreement to waive $50 million in bond fees as an example of the state’s willingness to help the MTA find alternative funding resources. The $50 million in savings to the MTA will allow the agency to use the money to restore services, she said.
Councilman Vincent Gentile said constituents would often visit his district office on Third Avenue seeking information on when, and if, the X27 would ever run on weekends again.
“I commend MTA Chairman Joe Lhota for understanding of the needs of southwest Brooklyn. Restoring weekend express bus service is something I’ve been fighting for since 2010. In those two years, rarely a day has gone by without a constituent coming to my office to ask when this service would be restored,” Gentile said. “I sent a letter to Chairman Lhota on his first day in office telling him that if he wanted to do right by southwest Brooklyn, he should restore weekend express bus service.”
Lhota also had other good news for southwest Brooklyn bus riders. Full service is being restored to the B64 bus. The bus currently runs from Shore Road in Bay Ridge to 25th Avenue in Bensonhurst.
Thanks to the service restoration, the B64 will go all the way to Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, where it had traveled before the 2010 service cut.
State Sen. Marty Golden held a press conference outside the Ulmer Park Depot in Bensonhurst Thursday afternoon, joined by bus drivers, to announce the service restorations.
“We fought. We fought hard for this,” Golden said.
Malliotakis said that while she is pleased to see some services restored, she will continue to push the MTA to bring back the B37 on Third Avenue. The bus line ran from Bay Ridge to downtown Brooklyn.