On the evening of Feb. 20 at a bus stop on 259th Street and Riverdale Avenue, riders waited more than 40 minutes for a Manhattan-bound Bx7 bus. When one finally arrived, the bus with a Bx7 sign brought little relief: The driver said it was a shuttle bus and would go only so far as W. 216th Street and Broadway.
With repair work underway on the No. 1 train line, construction materials were stored along W. 225th Street and Broadway, causing lane closures. Traffic delays were expected, but commuters were outraged at the length of the delays, upset by the size of the crowds that gathered at bus stops—and aggrieved at learning the buses would cut their routes short.
“I’ve never seen it this bad before. I waited for the Bx7 for almost an hour and the Bx7 didn’t even come. I had to take a shuttle bus. We’ve been sitting on the shuttle bus for almost an hour,” said Clea Counts.
The MTA acknowledged some disruptions in Bx7 service, but declined to elaborate.
“We ran a combination of shuttles and full-length trips,” an MTA spokesperson said in an email. “However, due to the increased traffic near the bridge, we did experience some gaps in service. We will look at re-working the service plan in order to mitigate these delays this weekend.”
A spokesperson also said that repair work for the No. 1 train would take place the weekend of Feb. 24 to 27, and then on three weekends in July and one in August, if needed.
“It’s crazy that they don’t have more people out here directing traffic. Why would you only have one lane open on the bridge when this is a main point for people coming in and out of the Bronx. This is ridiculous,” Counts said. She was traveling to Chinatown to catch a bus to Ohio and she took the Bx7 to the A train. After the long wait for the bus and then getting stuck in traffic along W. 228th Street and Broadway, she doubted she would make it to Chinatown in time.
Another Bx7 rider, who only gave her first name Swati, said extended delays have become a common occurrence. She experienced the same thing during the holiday weekend, she said, when her usual 30-minute trip from W. 231st Street to W. 190th Street and Broadway took an hour.
Neither commuter recalled any fliers about the extended delays on the Bx7 line, nor about shuttle bus service or connections to the No. 1 train.
After the more than 40-minute wait for a bus, Swati said: “This is my first time seeing a shuttle bus. There was no sign. No nothing that the buses are delayed.”
The Bx7 route southbound begins at W. 263rd Street and Riverdale Avenue and ends at 167th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, according to the MTA’s website. The stop at W. 259th Street and Riverdale Ave. is its fourth along the route.
On Monday, riders could catch the No. 1 train at W. 231st Street and Broadway and travel to Isham Street for the A train.
“This is the only transportation I have to go to work and to go home,” Swati said. “Next weekend, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s just suffering for some people who do not think clearly to plan all of this.”