Public hearing held on proposed cuts to 8 Suffolk bus routes

County officials say they are considering cutting eight under-used routes, including several on the East End.

County officials say they are considering cutting eight under-used routes, including several on the East End. (9/8/16)

RIVERHEAD - A public hearing on proposed Suffolk County Transit cuts was held Thursday afternoon at the Riverhead Legislative Auditorium.

County officials said they are considering eliminating eight underused routes, including several on the East End.

The routes on the chopping block are the 1B, 5A, 7D/E, 10A, 10 D/E, S35, S71 and S90. Suffolk County is looking to save $4 million a year with the cuts.

Stony Brook University student Jay Rivers, of Mastic, said the cuts would have a dramatic impact on the length of his commute.

"Just to go from Mastic to Stony Brook, the best way is to take the 66 to the 61, and then wait for the 60 to Stony Brook," Rivers said. "That's three hours."

Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming said she wants to make sure the county hears from riders before it takes a "drastic step."

"We're looking carefully at each route,” Fleming said. “We're making adjustments and modifications before we eliminate any routes.”

Aaron Watkins-Lopez, with the Long Island Bus Riders Union, said he wants the county to hold off on the cuts until at least next year. They are currently on track for Oct. 3.

"They say there will be alternative routes," Watkins-Lopez said. "They haven't come up with those routes."

Even Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman criticized the proposal.

"It goes against economic development in the county, which is so important because we're basically a county that's funded by sales tax revenue," Schneiderman said. 

A second public hearing on the issue will be held Friday at the Legislative Auditorium in Hauppauge from 3 to 7 p.m.

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