B61 buses will come more often — but not often enough for Red Hookers

The Brooklyn Paper
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The MTA will add more rush-hour buses to the flaky B61 route — and Red Hook straphangers say don’t stop there.

On the heels of a searing report indicating that the packed bus comes erratically when it comes at all, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed on Monday to add one extra bus per hour during the evening rush beginning in April.

The extra wheels will decrease waiting times from 10 minutes to 9 minutes between 3:30 pm and 7 pm to alleviate crowding, a spokesman for the agency said.

Riders in transportation-starved Red Hook say it’s a half-solution that still leaves morning commuters and school-bound kids out in the cold, literally and figuratively.

“It’s a good down payment but there’s plenty of work to do,” said Brad Kerr, who rides the B61 home from work. “More buses in the morning would be an awesome second step.”

The additional service comes after an exhaustive report put together by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope) found that fewer than half of the buses on the route — which runs from Red Hook to Downtown via Park Slope — arrived on time during “peak hours” and the rest showed up at least three minutes early or late.

Only 43 percent came on time during rush hour, which is twice as bad as the B44, a line that Straphangers Campaign named the least reliable “key route” in the borough last year.

That was particularly infuriating to Red Hook residents who have few other public transportation options, especially after the MTA cut the B71 bus and closed the Smith-Ninth Street train station for lengthy repairs

Red Hook riders now want the city to add more buses between 7 am and 9 am and extend the nearby B57 line, which starts in Vinegar Hill and terminates in Carroll Gardens.

Lander also wants the agency to provide a satellite-guided tracking system so straphangers know when their ride will actually arrive, much like the system that B63 users currently enjoy.

That said, he’s pleased with the new evening buses.

“I am happy to see that the MTA is listening,” Lander said.

The MTA says it will take a look at extending the B57 and adding extra buses during the morning commute, a spokeswoman said. The agency expects to have an answer within two weeks.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:29 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

anywho says:
The B61 has sucked for about thirty-five years.
Jan. 26, 2012, 1:36 pm
George F from Columbia Street says:
The study didn't actually prove that the B61 was that bad.
Jan. 26, 2012, 6:09 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
It's a pity the MTA shut down that guy's plans to revive the trolley lines from Red Hook to Downtown. Trolleys were a distinctive part of Brooklyn for many years and even gave rise to that famous baseball team, the Trolley Dodgers--later, the Dodgers. Bringing them back would augment Brooklyn's sense of self, stitch up holes in our current transit network (especially if they avoid the spoke-and-hub configuration with Manhattan at the center), and probably attract a lot of tourism and businesses. Brooklyn is experiencing a renaissance and it would be wonderful to do it in full style.
Jan. 27, 2012, 12:58 pm
Jay from the Bronx from Bedford Park, BX says:
I just - knowing a number of people from there - wonder if the local paper might find some other appellation for them than "Red Hookers" which brings to mind a completely different breed (Communist men & women who sell WHAT????!!!!!)
Jan. 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

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