NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Seniors in Manhattan, many who have problems with mobility, are taking the fight to the MTA and sounding off on the agency’s plan that would leave many elderly residents with no way to get around New York.
Every step can be a challenge for many older residents living in a naturally-occurring retirement community on the Lower East Side. Nevertheless many were taking a stand, marching to save their neighborhood bus stops.
“Save our stops! Save our stops!” seniors chanted Wednesday.
“I’m stranded here if the buses don’t stop,” 91-year-old Lybia Wilson told CBS2.
“I’ll have to walk every place and I can’t do that very well.”
Wilson and many others may have to do a lot of walking soon. The MTA is proposing to eliminate several local M14 bus stops on the Lower East Side and East Village to make the switch to the faster select bus service.
SBS riders buy tickets from a kiosk and can board through any door on the bus, which the MTA says cuts travel time. The proposed stops are expected to be farther apart, making them too far from home for many older New Yorkers.
“We have to do a lot of walking just to get to this one bus stop, so it’s not easy,” one Manhattan resident said.
“Falls could be the death of older adults,” another bus rider said.
“And it’s quality of life. Quality of life for people who may turn out to be homebound as a result of this.”
City council member Margaret Chin joined the determined group of seniors to demand the MTA reconsider their plan.
“We should not eliminate these local stops. Just turn every one of these stops into an SBS stop. If there’s nobody waiting. You don’t have to stop!” Chin argued.
Councilmember Chin said she’s been in touch with MTA leaders and she’s confident they’re willing to listen.
The MTA said the M14 bus plans are not set in stone and it will continue to engage in talks with the community before the plan is finalized.