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Residents hear about Suffolk County transit overhaul at forum


Suffolk residents on Long Island weighed in on a plan to redesign the county’s transit system.  It would increase bus stops along some routes, while completely eliminating others.

Funded by a $350,000 grant from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, the overhaul is meant to address a decline in ridership. At a public meeting on Wednesday, residents heard about the plan in more detail.

Transit planner Scudder Wagg said the design prioritizes the frequency of bus stops near the most people and jobs. So while it maximizes access, it does not increase access to everyone.

“Maximizing access also improves a whole lot of things. It improves access to economic opportunity, generally personal freedom. It also aligns with the value of investments in walkable development and redevelopment, and it tells us a lot about the general functionality of a village or town,” Wagg said. 

Under the plan, the total number of bus routes will be cut in half to about 20. But the number of routes that offer buses every half hour will quadruple to 12.

Residents were generally happy with the idea of an update to the system, especially the plan to expand early morning, late evening and weekend service.

But many expressed concern about the routes that would be cut, saying the plan favors southwestern parts of the county, and ignores more central and northern parts.

Another meeting will be held on Thursday. An online survey is available for the public to further weigh in through April 30.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.