CARROLL GARDENS — Two years after the B77 bus route was eliminated, community organizations in Carroll Gardens and Red Hook are teaming up for a rally later this month in hopes of bringing the route back.
The Carroll Gardens Association is working with the Red Hook Civic Association to hold a rally at the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot in Sunset Park in late June, according to Mike Racioppo, a community organizer with CGA.
He said residents are fed up with long, unpredictable wait times and crowded buses.
“The B61 is packed like a sardine can,” said Racioppo, whose organization is dedicated to improving community life. “I see the bus stop and the line of people, and it’s pretty intense.
"It’s the only way for people to get to places like Fairway.”
With renovations at the Smith-9th Streets subway stop on the G line still ongoing, the strain on the B61 is even more evident, Racioppo said.
Two years ago, the MTA combined the B77 and B61 bus routes, extending the B61 to operate from Downtown Brooklyn to Windsor Terrace.
Before the two routes merged, the B77 bus route ran from Park Slope to Red Hook along Ninth Street and Court Street in Carroll Gardens.
Now, the extended B61 operates on Columbia Street, instead of Ninth Street, and passes Red Hook on its way to Windsor Terrace.
As community members began complaining of long wait times, the MTA has made some improvements to the line.
In April, the MTA changed the bus operators’ relief point, so that instead of switching shifts at the middle of the route, bus operators now make the switch at the terminal Downtown.
Within the next several weeks, the MTA will also be installing a GPS in the B61 so that bus-arrival times can be tracked and posted online, allowing riders to check online to see exactly when their bus is arriving, officials said.
“We realize that the B61 has had some reliability issues and that the rehabilitation of the Smith-9th Streets subway station has had an adverse impact on the route as well,” said Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for the MTA. “Still, we believe that by eliminating the B77 and extending the B61, we are giving customers better options by offering a single route from Downtown to Windsor Terrace via Red Hook.
"We will continue to monitor and evaluate the service but there are currently no plans to restore the B77.”