Bee-Line Service Cuts Caught Westchester Bus Riders by Surprise. It’s Time to Fix That.

On October 8th, Liberty Lines Transit, the private operator of Westchester County’s Bee-Line Bus System, unveiled a modified service plan that went into effect on October 11th, cutting 5% of scheduled trips. The decision was made due to declining ridership and a shortage of bus drivers, according to Liberty.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bee-Line’s 58 bus routes served nearly 100,000 riders each weekday. Despite a modest rebound since the height of the pandemic, ridership is still down 24% from pre-pandemic levels. Neither Liberty Lines Transit nor Bee-Line have provided adequate details about where service cuts have been made, but a review of the new schedules shows pared-back service focused largely in the southern portion of the county. Bee-Line claims that the cuts are “unique and temporary,” and that the cuts reflect current ridership patterns, but an official timeline for restoring service has not yet been released. 

The announcement came as a surprise to many bus riders, resulting in some waiting for a bus that never came. The lack of notice, and limited details of where cuts have been made, showcases a larger transparency and communications issue plaguing the Bee-Line bus system. Service cuts to bus networks must always engage the public and gather stakeholder input well in advance of implementation to establish accountability and avoid stranding riders.

Westchester bus riders deserve a #BetterBeeLine. Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently started a new campaign to mobilize riders in Westchester to increase public engagement on the Bee-Line’s proposed bus network redesign, which has not yet been finalized. To ensure a more inclusive and equitable bus network that truly reflects the needs of commuters, we encourage Westchester bus riders to take our new survey. TSTC is collecting survey responses until November, 30th, 2021. Please share this survey with your family, friends, or anyone in the community who rides the Bee-Line bus.