Parks / Transportation

New bus line links Hunts Point, Longwood

Joe Hirsch

The Bx46 awaits passengers on Longwood Avenue near the Prospect Ave. 2/5 station.

Bx46 runs daily between Prospect Ave. subway and Barretto Park

The MTA launched a new bus line between Longwood and the Hunts Point food markets on April 7, providing a link between both sides of the Bruckner Expressway advocates say is long overdue.

The eastbound Bx46 now takes passengers from the 2/5 subway stop at Prospect and Westchester avenues to Food Center Drive every half-hour, seven days a week, between 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekends. The trip takes 27 minutes from end to end, starting on Prospect Ave. a few steps from the train station before turning onto Longwood Ave. It continues on Tiffany St. to Barretto Point Park before turning up Viele Ave., then past the markets. 

The westbound bus runs from Food Center Drive back to Longwood from 6 a.m. to midnight weekdays and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

On the 11:30 a.m. run on a weekday, only one passenger rode the bus. Gee Sanchez, 29, who lives in Morrisania, rode to her job in a bagel warehouse on Casanova St.

“The 6-bus is a long walk” from the bus stop to her job she said, adding that the Bx46 is more convenient.

The driver, who declined to give his name, said his bus has been nearly empty for many of this week’s daytime runs during the first week, but the Longwood-bound bus fills up with workers getting off their shifts in and around the Hunts Point markets in the late afternoon.

Misra Walker, 21, a Hunts Point resident who won a prestigious Brower Youth Award in 2010 for spearheading a grassroots campaign to persuade the MTA to establish seasonal shuttle bus service between the Hunts Point Ave. 6-train stop and Barretto Point Park, said the new route creates a much-needed local link.

“This just shows community members they shouldn’t settle for less,” said Walker, now a student at Cooper Union in Manhattan, adding residents and visitors alike “will use it to get to the park easier. We can finally show off the park to people who haven’t been there.”

A resident of Tiffany St. near the corner of Garrison Ave. standing outside the front door of her home in a two-story brick apartment building between parking lots and a pizza joint. She had an MTA map of the new route at her reach in the vestibule.

“Some people are complaining they took away parking spaces, but let me tell you, it’s great,” said the woman, in her 70s,who identified herself as Dotty J. She said many of her neighbors are elderly and don’t drive.

“It’s great for senior citizens with walkers who used to take an hour to go shopping at C-Town” across the Bruckner Expressway in Longwood, she said.

Ernestina Martinez, 48, who boarded the noon bus back to Longwood following her shift at a plastics factory, said the Bx46 is a welcome addition. She and fellow workers in the factory take it all the time now, she said. The bus will also provide quicker and easier access for the Morrisania mother and her teenage sons when they go to the Floating Lady Pool moored off Barretto Point Park in the summer, she added.

“We used to have to walk through traffic” from the 2/5 train at Prospect Ave. to the pool, she said.

Martinez said she is relieved to ride a bus that is not packed tight with fellow strap-hangers, the way the Bx6 usually is, but adds she expects it will attract more riders in the summer when families catch on that it can take them to the pool.

“Now we have a new bus,” she told her sons, before advising them “You better ride it so they don’t take it away.”

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