As Usual, Co-Op City Residents Face a Long Commute on Buses — and Then Trains

The MTA considered extending subway lines to the Bronx neighborhood decades ago, but the money ran out.

The BxM7 is the only express busin Co-Op City that lets residents to travel between the area and Manhattan at a faster pace than local buses. Here, the bus pulls into its first stop of the day at Dreiser Loop. (Photo by Aryana Azari)

It’s a typical Monday morning for Co-Op City residents, who must scramble to beat traffic to make it to work on time because there is no subway or rail access in the area.

Co-Op City in the Baychester section of the Bronx houses approximately 50,000 people. But buses and cars are the only modes of transportation available to the residents of Co-Op. The neighborhood is served by nine bus lines, some of which connect to subway lines such as the B, D, 2,4, 5, and 6.

“It’s hard, you know?” said Taylor Princeton, who has lived in Co-Op for over nine years. “I have to wake up every day at 5 a.m. just to make sure I’m on the BxM7 by 6 a.m. I don’t start work until 9 a.m.”

Princeton says getting up early is necessary because the traffic from the Bronx to Midtown can be unpredictable. The traffic between the two boroughs alone is nearly an hour. The traffic going down 5th Avenue — where the express bus makes its drop-offs— sometimes drags her commute out to more than two hours, she added.

In 1969, the MTA developed a plan to extend the 6 train line to Co-Op City. The program also included the creation of a Second Avenue Subway running from 34th Street to the Bronx. But money ran out, and the program was suspended.

“I remember hearing about that,” said Mark Batista. Batista, now 70, was 22 at the time. “If they were serious about bringing the trains here, they would’ve made moves already.”

The Bx28 is one of two bus lines in Co-Op that allows residents to transfer to the 5 train at Gun Hill Station. (Photo by Aryana Azari)

“We keep hearing rumblings of what may or may not happen,” said Brian Ferguson, who takes the Bx28 seven stops to transfer to the 5 train to make it to work near the World Trade Center. “But nothing is being done.”

In 2014, the issue was brought to the forefront again when the MTA announced its Penn Station Access Project. The project, which is expected to bring the Metro-North New Haven line to Co-Op City, will cost $695 million from the MTA’s capital plan.

It is unclear as to when the train will be completed. In the meantime, residents will continue to deal with the extra commuting time.