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Residents Protest Cuts to M104 Bus Line

By Emily Frost | November 13, 2014 3:27pm
 Service cuts to the M104 are a hardship on elderly and disabled residents who need to go to Midtown, locals say.
Service cuts to the M104 are a hardship on elderly and disabled residents who need to go to Midtown, locals say.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

UPPER WEST SIDE — Residents and community leaders are calling for the MTA to reverse cuts to the M104 bus that they say have left the service "decimated" and pose hardships for riders with mobility issues.

After receiving dozens of complaints, Community Board 7 passed a resolution this week asking the MTA to increase the frequency of buses along the line and restore the M104's original route, which included a leg traversing Midtown.

"Where you once had a very proud, frequent ride from the Upper West Side to the East Side...you now have a decimated service," said Andrew Albert, co-chair of Community Board 7's transportation committee, at a meeting to discuss the bus line this week. 

"If you’ve got mobility issues, it’s a real pain in the you-know-where," Albert added.

The M104 bus line currently begins in Harlem at West 129th Street, travels down through the Upper West Side along Broadway and ends at West 41st Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

Before service cuts in 2010, it used to run across East 42nd Street as far as First Avenue. In 2011, the frequency of buses along the route was reduced as well.

Because of the loss of the Midtown leg, M104 riders have to transfer to a new bus if they want to travel east, state Sen. Brad Hoylman wrote in an Oct. 16 letter to the MTA demanding the restoration of the East 42nd Street leg.

"The transfer is a particular hardship for very young, disabled and elderly riders," Hoylman wrote. 

Furthermore, the wait time for the bus averages about 20 minutes, which is far too long, he added. 

Aaron Biller, president of the Upper West Side advocacy group Neighborhood in the Nineties, said he'd heard from residents who were tired of seeing empty buses pass by with "Next Bus Please" signs while waiting for the bus.

"If there are three words that are getting people really really upset in this community it’s 'Next Bus Please,"' he said.

"You’re watching an empty bus go by...how much more can you tantalize people?" he told CB7.

The MTA said the M104 would not be restored to its pre-2010 route and did not comment directly on whether the frequency of the buses would be increased.

"We continuously monitor service on all of our routes and make appropriate adjustments based on ridership trends and road conditions," the MTA said in a statement.