Seniors step up protest for M14A Grand St. stops

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Lower East Side seniors want the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to keep local stops on the M14 bus route.

Sometime this spring, the M.T.A. plans to implement Select Bus Service on the M14A/D routes. The new M14A route would skip three stops along Grand St., including one at Pitt St., and bypass a senior residence and senior center.

About 50 seniors marched down Grand St. on May 1 to call on the M.T.A. to keep the Grand St. stops. Without them, they say, it would be as if the disabled and the elderly were being held hostage in their own homes.

Councilmember Margaret Chin, front row, second from right, rallied senior and disabled residents and marched with them on May 1 to protest the plan to reduce stops on the M14A on the Lower East Side along Grand St. (Courtesy Councilmember Chin’s Office)

“The M14 is a lifeline for many elderly and disabled New Yorkers who depend on our city’s bus system to go to the doctor, visit their families and run errands,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin, who marched alongside the residents.

The decision to run the M14 on an S.B.S. route was made in hopes that it would boost its notoriously slow speed. According to an M.T.A. study, the M14A/D is the city’s second most-used line —with 27,000 riders daily — but also its second-slowest.

From left, standing, Councilmember Margaret Chin, District Leader Daisy Paez, Chin chief of staff Gigi Li, activist Joyce Ravitz and others posed for a photo at the end of the protest. (Photo Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office)

“The best way to reinvigorate this route that has seen precipitous ridership declines, and provide our customers with the service they deserve, is to upgrade the route to S.B.S.,” an M.T.A. spokesperson said.

According to the M.T.A., S.B.S. would have stops every 675 feet on the Lower East Side, which is closer than the systemwide average of 805 feet.

“While we are still in active and detailed conversations with elected officials, advocates and community members, our proposals would require just a short walk for some people, while providing improvements in bus speeds for the entire route,” he spokesperson said.

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