An elected official’s plan for shuttle bus service during the No. 7 train shutdown was shot down before it left the station.
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer proposed to the MTA a shuttle bus that would transport stranded straphangers directly from Vernon Boulevard into 42nd Street in Manhattan.
The MTA rejected the plan, saying, “While we appreciate the councilmember’s wishes to provide direct bus service into Manhattan, it would not save customers time and could actually make their commute longer depending on traffic conditions.”
The agency said the “E,” “N,” “Q” and “R” train service all connect Long Island City with Midtown Manhattan and these subway trips are faster than a bus ride, which would be subject to traffic congestion.
“I disagree with that. I think for anyone who knows the area, knows New York City, that just doesn’t seem right,” said Van Bramer, who added he was disappointed by the rejection. “To me, it’s just a lack of imagination and a failure to think outside the box.”
Van Bramer said he hoped his offer would open up a dialogue with the agency to help mitigate some of the disruption for residents, who he said have been calling his office and asking for the shuttle bus.
Weekend work began on the line on Friday, January 20 and will continue each weekend until April 2 from 11:30 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday morning.
The MTA is providing shuttle service during the weekend work which brings riders from the Vernon Boulevard station to Queensboro Plaza, where they can transfer to the “N” or “Q” to Times Square. Riders that want to reach Grand Central must make one more transfer to the 4, 5 or 6 at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue.
The shuttle service adds only 15 minutes to a customer’s commute, according to the MTA.
A constituent called Van Bramer’s office and suggested a shuttle service to 34th Street instead of Grand Central, which the councilmember called “a great idea.”
“I’m going to keep the dialogue open with them and continue to try to work with them to see if there is a way to do this,” Van Bramer said.