I cannot explain why the MTA wants to devastate our bus service. The MTA promised us better, faster bus service to more destinations. However, under the Queens Bus Redesign – we are getting our service cut, our destinations cut, and our overnight service cut. Since this plan was released I, along with a group of community activists, have been sounding the alarm on these changes to make sure our community is not left in the dark and out in the cold if these draconian changes are implemented.
We have been out at the bus stops and on the buses throughout the neighborhood making sure everyone is aware of the Queens Bus redesign and imploring them to share their feedback with the MTA, both in person and online. Now is the time for the community to stand together and fight to save our buses.
The MTA seems to have come up with these changes in a lab without taking into account how and why we use the bus. This is a subway centric design that cuts service from high traffic destinations and requires multiple transfers to get just about anywhere. Some buses like the Q49 and Q53 are slated to be eliminated completely.
The Q29, Q32, Q33, Q47, Q49, Q66 and Q72 play an important role in the independence of our elderly neighbors, our mobility impaired, and our students. Buses are 100% accessible and yes they need improvements, but they are still much more accessible and more reliable than our un-reliable, over-crowded subways. The Q49 knits our community together bringing East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights to the 74th Street Hub. The Q53 provides us fast service to a dozen neighborhoods including the beach. The Q66 brings us to Astoria and Long Island City and Corona and Flushing. The Q72 brings us to the airport and to Rego Park. All of our buses provide a valuable service and can use improvements. However this plan hurts our robust bus service in order to bring new bus service to other areas of Queens.
There are a few no-brainer adjustments along the route that would significantly speed up the route. Some require real leadership, some require partnering with the NYC Department of Transportation and others are simple adjustments:
- Dedicated, camera enforced bus lanes.
- Rid bus lanes of illegally parked cars, taxis and delivery vans don’t block our buses entering and leaving our bus terminal and don’t impede traffic throughout our neighborhood.
- Address traffic problems like drop-off and pick-up for P.S.148 to prevent bus bunching at the beginning of the route.
- 74th Street could have a dedicated busway for one block between the terminal and 37th Avenue. That would significantly speed up every bus using that route.
- The MTA could work with DOT to expand the transit signal priority that prioritizes our buses.
These simple, low cost changes would dramatically improve our service. I ride the bus and have spoken to thousands of our neighbors. It’s not too late to make our voices heard.MTA