STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nearly 36,000 people ride the Staten Island express bus to Manhattan every weekday.
But as CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, major route changes could make it harder for people to get to and from work.
The Staten Island express bus has been Richard Leath’s way to work for the last 16 years, but changes in the next few weeks have him concerned.
“What are these people going to do?” asked Leath. “This stop here alone is being taken away.”
Starting August 19th, the MTA is drastically altering several express bus routes on Staten Island and Manhattan. Transit officials say they’re trying to speed up the service.
But some commuters fear it will be a disaster, especially since the MTA has yet to release a new schedule.
“It’s going to be brutal, it’s going to be brutal. Not looking forward to it,” said one rider.
“Upset, people don’t like changes,” said another.
MTA officials say 72 percent of customers will continue to use the same bus stop, but several stops on Staten Island will be consolidated to speed the trip. That means some commuters will have to walk farther to their stops, or drive there and find nearby parking.
In Manhattan, drop off locations are also changing. One map shows many commuters will have to get off in the center of the city, with less access to the West Side.
“I am like 50/50,” said Louis Pugliisei on his feelings about the changes.
Pugliisei thinks the future changes will get him to work faster. He’s happy about that, but feels bad for those who who may have to walk, for example, from 11th Avenue to the new stop on 6th Avenue.
“Its going to be kind of far. Especially if they’re coming home late at night,” he said.
Some riders say the changes will force them onto the subway once they reach Manhattan.
The MTA says they’ll still get a free transfer, but some worry it will be time consuming, especially for early commuters.
“I don’t believe that it’s going to save much time for us,” said rider Donna Olivo.
Many commuters say they’d like the MTA to rethink these changes.
The plan also includes adding more buses during off-peak times and for the first time, express service on weekends. Click here for a complete rundown on the changes.