MTA's Far West Side Bus Route Redrawn as Locals Call for More Buses
HELL'S KITCHEN — The MTA's proposed new bus route for the Far West Side was given a significant overhaul — extending from Columbus Circle to Abingdon Square — to reflect changes requested by residents, officials announced.
But MTA officials held back on locals' requests to add more frequent M12 bus service than the current plan for every half hour — saying they think the current schedule is sufficient to cope with the incoming population boom expected under the Hudson Yards development.
Under the MTA's altered plan for the new M12 route, the buses will no longer run up and down 11th and 12th avenues, but instead zigzag east and west to connect Columbus Circle and the Meatpacking District.
Under the proposal, southbound buses would start at West 58th Street and Seventh Avenue, then travel west to 11th Avenue, down 11th Avenue to West 49th Street, then down 12th Avenue to West 34th Street, then return to Eleventh Avenue to go down to West 14th Street, ending at Abingdon Square Park.
Northbound buses would travel straight up 12th Avenue to West 47th Street, where they would turn east and head to Seventh Avenue.
Community Board 4, which weighed in on the new route last week, praised the MTA for adding a transit option to the Far West Side, but asked the agency to provide more frequent bus service.
Under the current plan, the bus would run every 30 minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, connecting several transit hubs, including the upcoming extension to the 7 train at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue.
"Such a sparse schedule will severely limit usage, which will distort usage statistics and defeat the purpose. Without changing the overall number of buses, we request that the service be every 15 minutes in the a.m. and p.m. peak hours and less frequent in between," the board wrote in a letter to the MTA. "We also recommend that the service be extended to 1 a.m. since most cultural events on the piers do last until such hours."
A spokesman for the MTA said that the proposed hours were projected to be sufficient for the needs of most riders, but the agency will monitor the route and adjust service if there's more demand in the early morning or late night.
The M12 — like the 7 train extension — was originally supposed to come online by December 2013, but it was delayed because of concerns from Community Boards 2 and 4 about the route and frequency of the buses, according to an MTA spokesman. The new bus route will likely start running by August, the MTA said.