Suffolk Transit Overhaul Leads To Less Lines, More Efficient Bus Routes To Ammerman


Leanne Pastore

A bus leaves the Ammerman campus in Selden, New York on Monday, April 4, 2022. Under the proposed redesign of Suffolk County’s transit network, the total number of bus routes in Suffolk County will be cut from 43 to 21.

Leanne Pastore, Reporter

It’s a bitter, windy March afternoon as Mariela Cruz-Estrada reaches the bus shelter at the entrance of the Ammerman campus. She is bundled up in a hat, jacket, and scarf while waiting for the S63 Patchogue Railroad to Smith Haven Mall line.

Cruz-Estrada waited 15 minutes before her bus reached campus. She then began a 1 ½- hour-long commute home. Cruz-Estrada, who asked not to reveal her hometown, is a 19-year-old Intensive English Program student who relies on Suffolk County public transportation to get to and from classes each day. She is one of many in the Suffolk County Community College community who will be impacted by Suffolk County Transit’s first overhaul of its bus system in over 40 years.

For Cruz-Estrada, it’s a positive development. Though the S63 line she rides to and from the Ammerman Campus would be eliminated under the drafted new network, it would be replaced with the 52 line, which would have frequencies of every 30 minutes, as opposed to the current 60-minute frequency of the S63 line. This would cut Cruz-Estrada’s waiting time for her bus in half.

“It’s great they are planning to add more buses that come every half hour. I typically wait over an hour for my bus after class, and when I miss it, I’m stuck until the next one comes an hour later,” said Cruz-Estrada. “It’s a long time to wait, especially in the colder weather, so more frequent buses to the college would be extremely helpful.” 

The Reimagine Transit initiative is a proposed redesign of Suffolk County’s fixed-route bus network and on-demand mobility services. The re-design is being implemented to address Suffolk County’s transit challenges of declining ridership, increasing operating costs, and a lack of diverse transit options. 

Under the draft new network, the total number of bus routes in Suffolk County would be cut from 43 to 21, which includes the four lines that go to and from the Ammerman campus in Selden. The eliminated lines are set to be replaced with the 52 line, which will have midday weekday frequencies of every 30 minutes, and the 53 line, which will have frequencies of every 60 minutes. The Ammerman campus will also be reachable by riding the 4, 51, or 58 lines, and public transportation commuters would take a connecting bus to campus.

 While many North-South routes are being eliminated, the number of routes offering buses with weekday midday frequencies of every 30 minutes from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. would quadruple and offer synchronized connections to reduce wait times at key transfer points Brentwood, Bay Shore, the Smith Haven Mall, Patchogue, and Riverhead, and extend operating hours on all routes, including on weekends. However, more frequent buses and extended operating hours would come with trade-offs. While the new network pledges to double the number of people and jobs that are near service that comes every 30 minutes or better all day, some people and places would be much farther from service as routes are consolidated. 

While Cruz-Estrada expressed enthusiasm over the Reimagine Transit Initiative and draft new network, other students who rely on public transportation to get to and from campus, like 20-year-old liberal arts major Jaylin Williamson, who asked his hometown not to be revealed, wonders if the change to Suffolk county’s public transportation network is necessary.

“This decision seems reasonable financially, but what about ethically?” said Williamson. “This initiative happens to work in my favor, but what about the people being cast out from Suffolk County public transportation under this plan? It would be wrong of me not to have empathy for the passengers who would be farther from accessible transportation under this new initiative,” he added.

At this time, there is no data on the number of students, faculty, and staff that utilize buses at Suffolk County Community College or how the planned redesign of Suffolk County’s transit network will affect the SCCC community. Compass News reached out to Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, who is leading the project, but they did not respond to our requests for comments in time. 

“It’s safe to surmise, due to the pandemic, that ridership to and from our campuses is down,” said Director of Communications Drew Biondo.

Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning hopes to finalize the new network by this summer and to have the new network implemented by the summer of 2023.

For more information on the Reimagine Transit Initiative, visit