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Riders In Brooklyn Bewildered By MTA Service 'Enhancements' Impacting B46 Select Bus Line

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New Yorkers who ride a busy bus route in Brooklyn are feeling left behind by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. They say new service changes described as upgrades will actually slow down their commute.

Riders in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn say the MTA keeps hitting them where it hurts. If the agency isn't increasing fares, it's decreasing service.

"I bet you anyone who makes these ideas or plans don't take the bus every day," rider Rafael Anguerra told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez on Tuesday.

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Last week, the MTA told CBS2 there were no bus service cuts planned. It then announced service "enhancements" to bus lines like the B46 select bus, replacing standard 40-foot buses with articulated 60-foot buses to fit more passengers more comfortably. While keeping the same number of buses running during the peak morning commute, it would reduce buses during the peak evening commute, from about 20 per hour to 12.

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60-person buses set to take over the B46 bus route in Brooklyn. (Credit: CBS2)

"Unfortunately, what we see time after time is that they like to strip service little by little by calling them by different names -- service enhancements, service upgrades -- but what we know is there are service cuts. If the rider has to wait longer at a bus stop, it is a cut," said Stephanie Burgos-Veras of the Riders Alliance.

Many Brooklyn riders said they can't understand why the MTA would cut back service to one of the borough's most-used lines. The B46 is a virtual life line from low-income neighborhoods in Bed-Stuy to downtown Brooklyn.

"This is like a main bus that everyone uses, so it's definitely going to be in effect to a lot of people," Canarsie resident Donni Spaulding said.

"I think they should have added more buses to the line, not cut it off," added Michelle Gale of Bed-Stuy.

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The MTA declined CBS2's request for an on-camera interview, but on Monday NYC Transit President Andy Byford called the cuts a difficult decision.

"What we're not talking about is cutting routes. We really don't want to go there," Byford said. "But we are in real difficulty in the short-to-medium term and operating budget unless we can get some form of sustainable, dependable additional optics revenue stream."

Riders and rider advocates say they're not done fighting the service changes, and plan to voice their objections at the MTA board meeting on Wednesday.

The MTA says changing the B46 line to articulated buses will save the agency $2.4 million per year.

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