Some seniors in the Bronx say the MTA's plan to get rid of the Bx14 bus line could leave them with no way to get around. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Seniors in the Spencer Estates and Country Club neighborhoods of the Bronx say the Bx14 bus line helps them to stay independent.
"Well it's a means of getting our food, our shopping, getting to our churches. Mainly our doctors, it is very important," said Bx14 rider Marie Cavallo.
"I don't drive. My husband used to to drive but he is losing his eyesight. I take the bus all over," said Bx14 rider Carmela Avellino.
If the MTA's proposal goes through, the Bx14 will be history. The agency says it needs to save hundreds of million of dollars because of its budget deficit.
The Bx14 is among dozens of bus lines that would be eliminated, reduced or restructured.
"About 25 to 30 junior high students, grades seven and eight ride bus 14. If they didn't have that bus, I cannot guarantee that they would come back to the school in September," said Villa Maria Academy Principal Sister Teresa Barton.
The Bx14 runs from Country Club to Parkchester. Riders usually take it to hook up with other buses and the train at Pelham Bay.
The MTA says only about 2,800 people ride the route every day, compared to other city bus lines which average around 12,000.
Those who ride the Bx14 say the only way they will agree to the elimination of the line is if another bus makes all of the same stops.
"Listen Mr. MTA, whoever you are. We all pay taxes in Spencer Estates, we are entitled to a bus, I don't care what bus it is. But we are entitled to this bus," said Bx14 rider Gladys Garibaldi.
The MTA proposal calls for using several other bus lines including the Bx4, Bx5, Bx8 and Bx22 to pick up Bx14 passengers.
Several Bx14 stops will disappear altogether, meaning some riders in the Parkchester area may have to walk 10 minutes to get to the bus.
The MTA says getting rid of the Bx14 will save $1.5 million a year.