Last Option in Transit-Poor Red Hook Suffers Delays, Overcrowding

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Riders on the B-61 (photo courtesy City Councilmber Brad Lander)

The B61 bus is the sole transit lifeline for residents of Red Hook, Brooklyn. But a report by two Brooklyn elected officials says the buses don't come often enough and bunch up when they do.

The report says the B61 arrives on time during rush hour only 43 percent of the time. And buses can be so full that they routinely skips stops, leaving passengers stranded.   City Councilmember Brad Lander says neighborhoods like Red Hook with no subway need more reliable bus service. "There's only one bus line that goes there right now, " Lander says.  "The B61 is the only transit way in or out."

The MTA cut costs last year by eliminating three bus lines serving Red Hook and nearby neighborhoods. Some residents adapted by walking to the closest subway stop at Smith and 9th Streets. But with that stop now undergoing a year-long renovation, many Red Hook commuters have been force to use the problem-plagued B61.

The report, by Councilman Lander and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez urges the MTA to add express buses during peak hours that are equipped to hold green lights in their favor to get riders quickly to subway stops during rush hour.

The MTA says it's reviewing the report.