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MTA Releases Draft Plan That Aims to Overhaul Queens Bus Network, Workshops Planned

MTA release draft plan for new Queens bus network (click on photo for plan)

Dec. 31, 2019 By Christian Murray

The MTA has released a draft plan that revamps the entire Queens bus network in an effort to improve service.

The new plan aims to increase bus speeds, provide a better connection between Queens and the other boroughs, provide a better link to subways, and reduce commute times. The MTA draft plan redraws many bus routes, which have mostly been unchanged since they were converted from old trolley lines at the turn of the 20th century. The draft plan was released today.

The MTA kicked off the process to redesign the Queens bus network in April as part of it Fast Forward plan to improve bus service. The NYC Transit is redesigning the bus networks in every borough of New York City and started with the Staten Island Express Bus Redesign that was implemented in August 2018.

“Improving bus service is one of the pillars of our Fast Forward plan to transform every aspect of New York’s transit service…,” said MTA NYC Transit President Andy Byford in a statement. “We are very excited about this draft plan for Queens buses because it is a true reimagination of the routes that incorporates the earned knowledge of customers, our ground personnel and operations staff to create a new foundation of bus service in Queens.”

The MTA noted that the average bus speed in Queens in 2018 was 8.7 miles per hour, a 3.3 percent decrease from 2015. Bus ridership in the borough fell 5.4 percent from 2014 to 2019, from 728,872 to 689,702 average weekday riders. The on-time Performance for Queens bus routes decreased 12 percent from 2014 to 2018.

The draft plan, which reviews the entire bus network in Queens, takes a number of steps including widening the distance between bus stops as a means to speed up performance. It calls for bus stop spacing to average 1,400 Feet Apart—as opposed to the current 850.

The plan aims to improve connectivity between buses and subways—as well as other forms of public transport. Particular focus is also being placed on 21 key corridors including Queens Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, Broadway, Corona Avenue, Main Street and 108th Street.

The MTA has also put forward a number of new bus routes that provide better links between Queens and Brooklyn and Queens and the Bronx. The MTA also aims to increase the use of bus lanes.

The MTA produced the draft proposal after a study of the existing bus network, nine open houses, 11 meetings with civics groups and seven community boards to gather feedback on customers’ commuting patterns and itinerary suggestions. The MTA also took into consideration the results of nearly 2,000 online customer surveys specific to the Queens redesign and conducted other outreach.

The MTA is looking for the public to comment on the draft proposal and make suggestions. It aims to release a “proposed final plan” in the second quarter of 2020.

The MTA will be hosting a series of public workshops in January and February to provide customers with information on the proposals in the draft plan (see dates below). Residents will be able to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed redesigned routes and bus stops.

The final plan will then be presented yet again to elected officials, community boards and other stakeholders for review. A public hearing will also be held.

The MTA plans to roll out the new network by 2022 after the MTA board signs off on it.

MTA will be holding workshops at these locations to discuss the Draft Proposal. A meeting is planned for Springfield Gardens but the details have yet to be finalized.

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9 Comments

Dr. Barry Feinstein

How is the QT48 going to fit under the LIRR bridge down Ascan Ave? more importantly how many people in FH or FHG are going to on-board with an oversized and loud MTA bus going down these narrow residential roads? I for one am not for it. It is bad enough they idle all morning along Metropolitan Ave clogging up lanes and creating traffic hazards now they’re going to reroute them to even narrower roads and quieter part of town? Great research. Round of applause for the civil engineers fielding this one.

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Larry Penner

Remember all the promises made in 2005 and 2006 with the creation of MTA Bus? Those who complained about ongoing problems with bus service were promised potential operational savings and service improvements by consolidation of duplicate routes between NYC Transit Bus 4,500 and MTA Bus 1,300 fleets. (MTA Bus is made up of the old NYC DOT private operator franchised Liberty Lines Bronx Express, New York Bus Service, Green Bus Lines, Jamaica Buses, Triboro Coach Corporation and Command Bus companies). This never happened. The same was true for reducing deadheading costs by reassigning bus routes between MTA Bus and NYC Transit Bus to closer garages for reduction of operating costs. Work rules and contracts between different labor unions representing employees at NYC Transit Bus, Manhattan Bronx Surface Transportation Operating Authority and MTA Bus to continue to prevent significant changes to the status quo. How will this be any different under the proposed Queens Bus Network Redesign? Have MTA and NYC Transit management, along with consultants obtained agreements from labor unions for reassignment of some proposed new bus routes to different depots to obtain these savings?

(Larry Penner — transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit bus and subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)..

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Larry Penner

There are many issues related to the MTA NYC Transit proposed Queens Bus Network Redesign Study that need to be resolved. It is interesting that this study was released on New Year’s Eve. This is an age old trick that elected officials do when they want to avoid detailed media coverage and public review. Most reporters are off and papers have only a skeleton staff on duty. Commuters, taxpayers and transit advocates are preparing to celebrate the holiday.

Funding from Congestion Pricing, which is scheduled to start January 1, 2021 is suppose to help pay for increased not reduced bus service. This was suppose to be especially true from old two fare bus to subway neighborhoods in so called transit deserts. There are alternatives such as the purchase of smaller 25, 30 and 35 foot buses to provide service on those routes with significantly fewer customers. Smaller buses can also better navigate tighter streets and cost less to operate.

(Larry Penner — transportation historian, writer and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit bus and subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road MTA Bus along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)..

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FoHi

Bus riders should look over this carefully and provide feedback at the public sessions because it seems like certain areas will lose bus service entirely. For instance, the strip of Northern Blvd in Little Neck that runs from Marathon Pkwy to the Nassau County line disappears as it looks like the bus is going to turn on Marathon and skip the rest of Northern. Also, itlooks there is no more express bus service from the North Shore Towers to Manhattan at all. I know those buildings very well and while ridership is not huge since many retirees live there, that is the only lifeline of public transit they have. They should consider extending the Union Tpke line to stop at the Towers after LIJ Hospital, at least a couple of times an hour, that would be a huge bonus for those buildings and all the healthcare aides that work there, I will try to go to one of those sessions and speak up and I don’t take the bus but since they are trying to revamp everything, we should all take some part in this since we might need the buses at some point in life.

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FoHi

Ok thanks I see it now, still a huge blow to those residents since now they have a bus each hour and night service as well, and weekends, the Q167 looks like it’s weekday only and only a few runs each day.

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