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Staten Island High School Student Fights for Better Bus Service

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 29, 2013 8:31am
 George Kaufer, 18, has developed a plan to reroute the S66 and S57 bus lines on Staten Island to help provide better service in Graniteville.
Staten Island Bus Route Change
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GRANITEVILLE — When George Kaufer, 18, was choosing a high school nearly four years ago, he had the choice of Wagner, Curtis and Port Richmond.

The Graniteville teen's choice was simple — Port RIchmond was the only one he could access easily by bus.

"Basically I can only really go to school along the Richmond Avenue corridor," he said. "I had to choose my high school based on how easy it was to get to. I don't want to spend all that time commuting."

Kaufer said his neighborhood lacks bus service to the eastern and western parts of the borough, and some classmates of his have to walk almost a half-a-mile from the bus stop to their home.

"Essentially, we're a transportation desert," Kaufer said.

So Kaufer came up with a plan to alter the S66 and S57 bus routes to fill in the gaps in service for bus rides.

"There's a lot of houses over here," he said. "Why doesn't this have bus service?"

Kaufer's plan , which he has presented to the MTA and his local community board, would take the S66, which mostly runs along Victory Boulevard from the St. George Ferry, and continue the line along Watchogue Road to Graniteville, similar to the old S67 line.

His plan would cut out the S66's route along Jewett Avenue to Port Richmond, but he would make up for it by redirecting the S57 to follow the lost S66 service.

The plan wouldn't just help residents of Graniteville, Kaufer said it would also help improve service to the northern and southern parts of the boroughs and quicker transportation to the ferry terminal for people in nearby areas.

"We're part of New York City," he said. "Seven days a week you should be able to get an easy route into the city."

While Kaufer has met earlier this year with workers from the MTA, the agency currently has no plans to redirect any bus paths on the North Shore of the borough, a spokeswoman said.

"We have no plans to restructure the North Shore bus routes," said Judie Glave, a spokeswoman for the MTA. "If at a future date we look to restructure those routes we would certainly take these suggestions into consideration."

To show support for his project, Kaufer has started a written and online petition, and has collected nearly 300 signatures already from bus riders and by going door-to-door in the neighborhood.

"Some people, they couldn't sign it quick enough," he said.

He also started to recently drum up support at local community board meetings, and plans to speak at the next MTA meeting next month to continue to provide pressure to get his plan through.