New York, NY - Today, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, representatives of Manhattan Community Board 6 and the Turtle Bay Association, and members of the east Midtown community celebrated the MTA's decision to restore weekend bus service on the M50 bus line in Midtown. Last year, the MTA announced a series of cutbacks in bus service throughout the city, resulting in the elimination of M50 bus service on nights and weekends.
The MTA agreed to restore weekend service in response to a petition drive organized by Congresswoman Maloney that, with the help of government and community leaders, yielded more than 4,000 signatures from neighborhood residents who were deeply concerned about the impact of the cuts on their community. The MTA's new plan will shorten the M50's route, allowing weekend service to resume without any additional cost to taxpayers. More details on the new route can be found below. Please click here for a map of the new route.
"It's great news that the M50 bus will no longer be taking long weekend naps here in the city that never sleeps," said Rep. Maloney. "Resuming weekend service without costing taxpayers a dime is a solution everyone can celebrate. The MTA's decision means that east Midtown residents will no longer be isolated from mass transit on the weekends and facing a long walk to the subway. I thank my colleagues in government for helping organize the community to express their support for the M50 bus, and I thank Chairman Walder and his team at the MTA for coming up with a mutually-agreeable solution that will benefit thousands of commuters in Midtown."
"The MTA is continually looking at ways to improve service even as we reduce costs across our organization. By working with Rep. Maloney and the community we were able to find a solution in this case that improved service within the available funding, and that's a win-win for the MTA and our customers," said Tom Prendergast, President of MTA NYC Transit.
"I commend the MTA on its willingness to reexamine off-peak service along this important crosstown bus route. Through the leadership of Congresswoman Maloney, other elected officials, and community advocates, Turtle Bay and East Midtown residents will once again have access to vital West Side destinations on weekends. It is encouraging that even in times of financial constraint, we can work together to find ways to restore critical transportation services and be responsive to the needs of our communities," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
"I am very proud of the effective advocacy of this community. The residents stood strong and united with their elected officials, and spoke out against the real harm to midtown Manhattan that was caused by limiting the M-50 bus line to week days only. Now, because of their advocacy, we are able to once again have the service of the M-50 bus on the weekends. This is a great example of how organized civic action can have such positive results," said Senator Krueger.
"I am proud to stand with Congresswoman Maloney to announce the restoration of weekend service on the M50 bus line. As a resident of Turtle Bay who lives just one block away from the M50 bus line route, I know firsthand how this service route is a critical lifeline for the East Midtown residential community. This is certainly a welcome development in the ongoing effort to ensure that New Yorkers have access to efficient and affordable public transportation," said Assembly Member Bing.
"I applaud the MTA for working with community leaders to find a creative solution that saves an essential service like the M-50 bus," said Assembly Member Micah Kellner. "This is a great example to set for the rest of the city, that despite the current economic climate, it is possible to make tough budget decisions, while still providing vital services to the communities that need them the most."
"The MTA's original decision to cut this bus line on nights and weekends was a mistake. I'm glad to see that they listened to the pleas of this community and elected officials and have decided to fix their error. This is a big win for our community. The fact that it is being done without adding additional burden to the MTA's budget is icing on the cake," Council Member Jessica Lappin said.
"The return of weekend M50 service reestablishes a vital transportation link and reconnects a neighborhood that was left stranded by service cuts," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "This is a remarkable achievement during times of cutbacks, and it shows what you can accomplish with creative thinking."
"This is a great example of how New Yorkers can find a creative solution when faced with a problem. Through a simple adjustment, M50 weekend service has been restored at no cost. Without the M50 service, East Siders had to walk great distances, take taxis, or forego getting around town at times when they really needed it. We are all grateful to Congresswoman Maloney and the MTA for working with us to find a quick, easy solution," said Mark Thompson, Chair of Manhattan Community Board Six.
"The Turtle Bay Association and its two thousand household membership applaud and gratefully thank Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her excellent job in obtaining the restoration the M-50 Cross-town weekend bus service. We worked diligently alongside her, as did others including the Community Board 6 leadership, to gain this victory. Community teamwork and Carolyn's dedication made it possible. This is a win not only for the Turtle Bay neighborhood but also for the great City in which we live," said Bruce Silberblatt and Carol Rinzler of the Turtle Bay Association.
The MTA's new plan will eliminate stops on the M50 route below East 48th Street at all times in order to restart bus service along the remainder of the route on weekends. According to the MTA, commuters who typically board the M50 south of 48th Street can do any of the following to travel crosstown: walk to 49th Street for M50 crosstown service; walk to 42nd Street for M42 crosstown service; or take the M15 bus to connect with the M50.
In June 2010, the MTA eliminated the M27 bus, which links Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal to First Avenue via 49th and 50th Streets; eliminated night and weekend service on the M50, which runs from the Hudson River to 1st Avenue via 49th and 50th Streets; and eliminated crosstown service on the M104, which runs from Broadway to the United Nations along 42nd Street.
When taken together, these cuts virtually eliminated crosstown service for Turtle Bay in off-peak hours. If the M27 still existed, the M50 could have been viewed as duplicative, but since the M27 was cut, this reduction in service isolated Turtle Bay from public transit, leaving residents with no crosstown service outside of business hours.