Tag Archives: bus

Changes coming to four Queens bus routes    


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Starting this Sunday the MTA is making changes to four Queens bus routes in order to enhance service and help alleviate congestion.

The Q8 route, which runs between Jamaica and Spring Creek, Brooklyn will now end at a new bus terminal at Gateway Center II (Gateway Center North) in Spring Creek.

The Q17 and the Q27 routes will now end at 138th Street between 39th and 37th avenues in Flushing, instead of Main Street between 39th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. This change was made at the request of the community to help reduce congestion, according to the MTA.

The Q113 Local will be turned into the Q114 Limited in order to provide faster service to passengers traveling a long distance along Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in south Jamaica and Rochdale Village. The new Q114 route will make limited stops on the Boulevard, then all local stops along Brookville Boulevard and through Woodmere, Cedarhurst, Inwood, Lawrence and Far Rockaway. During overnight hours, it will make all local stops along Guy R. Brewer Boulevard.

No change will be made to the Q113 Limited’s route. It will continue its limited-stop service from Jamaica through Far Rockaway, and the Q111 will continue to make all local stops from Jamaica through Rosedale.

 

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Free weekend art bus comes to LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

The wheels on a brand-new free shuttle bus service are taking visitors ‘round and ‘round Long Island City’s art scene on the weekends.

Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1 have partnered up to bring local residents and tourists the LIC Art Bus, which will debut on Saturday. This free weekend bus service will be dedicated to promoting the neighborhood’s arts and culture scene taking visitors between the four institutions.

“Long Island City is already home to a rich cultural corridor, and the LIC Art Bus – free to all – will make it easier for visitors to experience the art offerings the neighborhood is known for,” said John Hatfield, executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park.

The bus will run on Saturday and Sunday, on a first-come, first-served basis, for 19 consecutive weekends until Sept. 14. The first shuttle departs from Socrates Sculpture Park at noon and takes riders door-to-door to The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1, and then makes its return to Socrates.

Departure times are scheduled for noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:30, 3:15, 4 and 5 p.m.

“The arts are booming here in western Queens,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “With the addition of the LIC Art Bus, countless New Yorkers will have an easier time getting to some of our borough’s premiere cultural organizations and institutions – all for free.”

The LIC Art Bus’s full schedule will be available at each stop and updated at socratessculpturepark.org/bus.

 

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Weekend bus trial to expand service along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The western Queens waterfront will soon get a taste of extended bus service.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will begin offering service to riders on weekends starting in June, according to the MTA.

The weekend schedule will serve as a trial program for the transit agency to receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not, the MTA said. It was not determined how long the trial program would run.

“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks and cultural institutions.”

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, according to the MTA.

“The expansion of service will not only benefit the increasing amount of riders but it will also give our growing cultural institutions that ability to generate more traffic to their venues,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods, with the increase of new residential towers coming into the areas bringing more people.

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

“The Q103 service is a vital link for the cultural organizations of western Queens,” said Jenny Dixon, director of The Noguchi Museum. “It enables visitors to go from The Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park in the north to SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, Dorsky Gallery and the Chocolate Factory to the south.”

 

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Addabbo sends list of bus problems to MTA


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A local legislator is hoping to put the brakes on bus problems in the region he represents.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo recently sent a list of complaints from constituents to the MTA about bus service on nearly 10 lines, including some that travel through the subway scarce neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, hoping the agency can resolve the issues.

The note includes problems such as buses frequently arriving 20 or more minutes behind schedule, multiple buses bunching together and buses passing by commuters with “not in service” signs. The lines include the Q18, Q11/Q21, Q54, Q55, Q67, Q38 and Q29.

“As we negotiate our state budget funding and administrative decisions, we must realize that these resources must be allocated rationally and efficiently,” Addabbo said. “Acknowledging that the MTA provides a critical service and that state resources are not infinite, we must impress upon the MTA to improve service for my constituents given the resources it has.”

Last month, The Courier revealed exclusively that the MTA plans to reduce overall service in April of the Q54, which riders in Middle Village and Glendale depend on to connect to subway lines in Jamaica and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

 

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MTA to move problematic buses away from Flushing church


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Big wheels,  keep on turning — away from a historic Flushing church. 

The MTA will redirect five city bus routes from St. George’s Episcopal Church after local leaders and parishioners complained about idling buses and its drivers who relieve themselves on the side of the church.

“What was happening to our beautiful church was devastating,” said Assemblymember Ron Kim. “It’s very sad that when their congregation meets every week, they have to walk through all that pollution and smell.”

Drivers use the streets adjacent to the landmark church at 135-32 38th Ave. as a bus depot, Kim said, contaminating the block with noise, pollution and even urine at night.

Serving Flushing since 1702, the church is the only one in the city to be surrounded on three sides by city buses, said Kim and St. George’s Reverend Wilfredo Benitez.

“These buses have been a hardship on this parish for too long,” Benitez wrote to the MTA in February.

But come September, no city bus will travel along or stop on 38th Avenue, between Main and Prince streets, the MTA said.

The heavily-used Q17 and Q27, which currently have layovers there, will instead rest on 138th Street, between 39th and 37th avenues. And the Q19, Q50 and Q66 will idle near the municipal parking lot on 39th Avenue.

“The community requested the MTA study how to decrease the number of buses stopping near the church,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “This reroute of Q17 and Q27 accomplishes that with minimal inconvenience to customers.”

Local leaders praised the adjustments but said they need to come sooner. Benitez also wants the Q20A, Q20B and Q44’s stops moved away from the front of the church.

“Waiting until Septembers means another summer of bus drivers urinating on the side of our buildings and the summer heat festering the stench,” he said. “All the other hardships already enumerated to the MTA in the past will remain in effect until then.”

The change is part of Kim’s new initiative, launched last November, to clean downtown Flushing.

Residents can click here or call Kim’s office at 718-939-0195 to suggest other blighted sites.

 

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Impending school-bus strike could leave students stranded


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

A city-wide school-bus strike, leaving 152,000 children stranded, is likely to begin on Wednesday.

According to the New York Post, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181 has begun printing strike posters, assigning members to picket line locations at various bus yards and handed out a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for conduct during a strike. The strike could be announced as early as today.

Last week, School’s Chancellor Dennis Walcott released a statement, addressing parents concerns about getting their children to school should there be a strike. According to the statement, the Department of Education (DOE) will implement measures including robo-calling affected families and providing MetroCards and reimbursements for those who must drive or use a car service.

Nearly 54,000 of the students left without bus service have disabilities and require special transportation services.

“The union is asking for something we cannot legally deliver and are putting a central and necessary service at risk,” Walcott said. “A strike would be irresponsible and would adversely impact our students and their families who rely on bus service to get to and from school. As the City continues to take all possible precautions in advance of a potential strike, we are asking parents to make a plan in the event that busing is disrupted.”

Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union threatened to strike due to contract bid specifications excluding job guarantees for certain current drivers. According to the DOE, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that such a guarantee, known as the Employee Protection Provision, could not be included under the circumstances of the bids for pre-kindergarten bus contracts last year.

Pedestrians struck in Forest Hills by elderly driver


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

PHOTO BY ROBERT STRIDIRON

Several pedestrians were struck at the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard in Forest Hills when an elderly driver stepped on the gas instead of the break, jumping the car from the street on to the sidewalk. The pedestrians were allegedly waiting for the bus. Those struck suffered non-life threatening injuries and were transported to an area hospital.

PHOTO BY ROBERT STRIDIRON

School bus drivers threaten to strike after holiday break


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

After the new year, kids may be looking for a new way to get to school.

Yellow school bus drivers have threatened to strike when children are scheduled to return to school after the holidays. The city’s contract with Amalgamated Transit Union’s Local 1181 is set to expire in June and a bid, open to all suitors, was issued to secure a new contract.

“Going through with the strike now would be unfair to our kids and absolutely unacceptable,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The union is upset that the bid does not include language that will guarantee current drivers a job in the next contract, something Bloomberg said was deemed illegal.

“The union is protesting a job guarantee the DOE is not allowed to provide,” the mayor said.

The strike would affect 152,000 students and 7,700 school bus routes citywide.

The DOE has taken efforts to provide transportation if the strike does occur and sent parents a letter on the step that will be taken.

Metrocards will be provided to students who receive yellow bus service and to the parents of children in grades kindergarten to second grade and parents of children with special needs.

Those in areas where public transportation is not readily available will be reimbursed by the DOE for any transportation costs.

Field trips that required a yellow bus will be cancelled in the event of a strike and after-school programs will remain open.

The union also threatened to strike in November of 2011 over similar circumstances, but the work stoppage was averted.

Calls to the union for comment were not immediately returned.

Fare, toll hikes approved by MTA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

New Yorkers will once again be paying more to ride public transportation beginning next year.

The MTA board passed all of Chair Joe Lhota’s recommendations at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 19 bumping fares and tolls across all MTA services.

The base fare on Metrocards will rise a quarter to $2.50, seven-day passes will go up $1 to $30 and 30-day passes will increase $8 to $112.  The new fares go into effect March 1 and is the fourth increase in five years.

The new fares also include a $1 green fee for each new Metrocard bought from the machine.

Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets will also increase an average of nine percent.

On bridges, E-ZPass drivers will be paying 50 cents more per trip, while those who pay cash will be forking over an additional dollar every time they use an MTA crossing.

Charts courtesy of MTA

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Forecast

Friday: A slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 42. Northwest wind around 11 mph.

Hurricane Sandy leads to city gas shortage, run on gas

With millions of New Yorkers heading back to work and limited subway service, many residents hopped in their cars only to find no place to fill up. “Gas is in short supply,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the daily press conference updating New Yorkers on the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Long lines litter the gas stations throughout the borough that still have gas, with drivers waiting more than hour. Read more: Queens Courier

HOV rules clog river crossings

High-occupancy vehicle restrictions and the return of mass transit created a fresh nightmare for the flood of commuters trying to cram into Manhattan yesterday — backing up traffic for miles and causing long lines squeezing to get on shuttle buses. Police checkpoints were set up to enforce the rule of three people per vehicle and avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s staggering gridlock, but it also led to hour-long waits to cross the East and Hudson rivers. Read more: NY Post

Belle Harbor resident uses twine, electrical cords to save self, neighbors

Some people panic in a crisis, but others find their inner hero, like one man whose quick thinking and guts spelled the difference between life and death for his neighbors in Belle Harbor. Watch video: NY1

Generators should give power to people — not marathon

As hundreds of thousands of Big Apple residents suffer in homes left without power by Hurricane Sandy, two massive generators are being run 24/7 in Central Park — to juice a media tent for Sunday’s New York City Marathon. And a third “backup” unit sits idle, in case one of the generators fails. Read more: NY Post

Disturbed man randomly stabs woman, 22, after following her from Queens bus

An emotionally disturbed man followed a woman as she stepped off a Queens bus, stabbing her in an unprovoked attack, police said Thursday. Edwin Rios, 27, was busted at 12:40 a.m., almost three hours after he allegedly stabbed the 22-year-old victim at 73rd Ave. and Francis Lewis Boulevard, in Fresh Meadows. Read more: Daily News

Howard Beach pizzeria stays open despite blackout resulting from Hurricane Sandy

No power, no problem. One pizzeria in Howard Beach isn’t letting anything get in the way of a good slice. Romano’s restaurant is the only eatery on Cross Bay Boulevard that has been serving food to the blacked-out neighborhood since Tuesday. Read more: NY Post

 

Limited subway service returns; MTA fares free today & tomorrow


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/saitowitz

After three days without subways, residents crowded onto trains this morning as limited service returned today with no fares.

Fourteen lines will be providing partial service days after the system sustained the worst damage in its 108-year history.  There is still no subway service between 34th St in Midtown and Downtown Brooklyn.

The MTA’s subway, bus and commuter rails will be free for today and tomorrow, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday.

“The gridlock we experienced yesterday shows that the New York metropolitan region is in a transportation emergency,” Cuomo said. “To get people out of their cars and onto mass transit, I immediately authorized the MTA to suspend transit fares through the end of the work week.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg also announced a three-passenger minimum for cars entering Manhattan between 6 a.m. and midnight today and tomorrow to help ease traffic.

Bus service will supplement lines that are unable to operate.

There is still no date on when full subway service will be restored.

Limited Long Island Railroad and Metro-North service also began yesterday.

Metro-North will operate close to regular service between Mount Kisco and Grand Central Terminal on the Harlem Line and on the New Haven Line between Stamford and Grand Central Terminal, according to the MTA.

The LIRR will offer hourly service on the Ronkonkoma Branch and on the Port Washington Branch from Great Neck for the morning rush.

LIRR customers should hold on to their October monthly tickets, which will be honored through Monday.

Buses are running as close to a normal weekday schedule as possible with necessary reroutes due to downed trees and street closures.

SUBWAY SERVICE: See the map of restored service here

1: Will operate local between 242nd Street (Bronx) and Times Square-42nd Street.

2: Will operate between 241st Street (Bronx) and Times Square-42nd St, with express service between 96th Street and Times Square.

3: Suspended

4: Will make all local stops between Woodlawn and 42nd Strett and between Borough Hall and New Lots Avenue.

5: Will operate express in Brooklyn between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and Flatbush Avenue.

6: Will operate local between Pelham Bay Park and Grand Central-42nd St

7: Suspended

A: Will operate between 168th Street and 34th St and between Jay Street and Lefferts Boulevard.

B: Suspended

C: Suspended

D: Will operate locally between 205th Street (Bronx) and 34th Street-Herald Square and in Brooklyn between Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center and Bay Parkway making express stops between Pacific Street and 36th Street.

E: Suspended

F: Will be making all local stops between 179th Street (Queens) and 34th Street and in Brooklyn between Jay Street and Avenue X.

G: Suspended

J: Will operate locally between Jamaica Center and Hewes Street. M trains btwn Myrtle Ave-Broadway & Metropolitan Ave

L: Will operate locally between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Parkway.

M: Will operate between Myrtle Avenue-Broadway and Metropolitan Avenue.

N: Will opearte locally between Ditmars Boulevard and 34th Street.

Q: Suspended

R: Will make local stops in Brooklyn between Jay Street and 95th Street.

 

Top headlines from around the web


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

New memorial to honor six firefighters killed in tragic Maspeth blaze 50 years ago

The site of a New York City Fire Department tragedy that broke the city’s heart 50 years ago sits unmarked, tucked away in an industrial section of Queens.But that’s about to change. Read more: Daily News

Female pedestrian fatally struck by bus in Jamaica

Just hours after revealing she wanted to return to her native Bangladesh, a 54-year-old mother of three was hit and killed by a bus Saturday night, police and family members said.

The victim — who family identified as Maleka Begum — died instantly, authorities said. She was crossing Merrick Blvd. at Hillside Ave. near her Queens home about 8 p.m., after shopping with her daughter, when the Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) N6 bus hit her, according to authorities and family. Read more: Daily News

Car strikes Qns. ‘thief’

A shoplifting suspect being chased by a security guard ran onto busy Queens Boulevard, where he was struck by a car, police sources said.

The man was spotted stealing merchandise at the Macy’s store in the Queens Mall in Elmhurst at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday, the sources said. Read more: New York Post

Thrift shop continues to raise money for autism

NY1 first told you about a thrift store raising money for children with autism last year. Recently, NY1 made a return trip to see how things were going. Read more: NY1

Woman struck, killed by bus


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A 54-year-old woman was struck and killed on Saturday, October 13, police said, by a Nassau Inter-County Express bus at the intersection of Merrick Boulevard and Hillside Avenue.

Police responded around 7 p.m. and found the victim unconscious. EMS pronounced the woman dead at the scene, police said.

The bus driver had been traveling west on Hillside Avenue and turning south on to Merrick Boulevard, police said. There is no criminality suspected at this time and an investigation is ongoing.

MTA to hike fares in ’13, ’15 & ’17


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

City straphangers are getting a brief reprieve from a 2013 fare hike, but will soon be paying more at both the turnstile and MetroCard machine.

The MTA approved a preliminary budget including a bump in 2013 fares, followed by further increases in 2015 and 2017. A $1 “green fee” will also be added to newly purchased MetroCards. Tolls and commuter line fares will rise as well.

Fares were originally intended to be boosted beginning in January, but will be held off until March.

The biennial increases will net the agency $450 million next year and an additional $500 million in 2015.

Details on the hikes have not been released and will be made available later this year ahead of November’s public hearings.

“They should not increase the prices,” said Nesto Murdolk, 40, of Bayside. “There’s no way people can afford it.”

New Yorkers are frustrated at being “fed a steady diet of fare increases without corresponding improvements in service,” said Ya-Ting Liu, the transportation advocate for Transportation Alternatives at a June 25 MTA hearing.

Fares have been raised three times since 2007.

Other residents see the need for an increase to cover the MTA’s deep debts.

“I think it is necessary because of the running deficit,” said Bayside resident Fred Z., 71. “We’re going to have to increase taxes or get money from the fares.”

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign said there is a fine line between the agency’s financial woes and providing a service, though he says that the MTA is not to blame.

“We think that the state doesn’t fund transit well enough,” he said. “There should be more support, rather than getting it all from the riding public.”

The MetroCard surcharge will produce about $20 million for the MTA — $18 million from the fee and $2 million in savings through printing fewer cards.

It is not known when a proposed $1 surcharge for new MetroCards will go into effect, though it will likely be enacted along with the March fare hike.

“My feeling is that people should be reusing their cards and part of it is a monetary benefit to the riding public,” Russianoff said.

Many cards are tossed aside with money amounting to less than one fare remaining. The MTA projects that $56.2 million will remain on MetroCards at the close of 2012. The number includes money on cards thrown away, lost or yet to be used.

— Additional reporting by Greg Giaconelli

MTA restores Queens bus routes


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Certain Queens mass transit routes slashed during an MTA budget crunch have been restored — though others remain on the sideline.

The MTA announced investments to bus, subway and commuter rails throughout the city with many of the improvements going to restore lines that were cut during the agency’s 2010 fiscal crisis.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how to improve both the quality and quantity of service for our riders, and I’m pleased that these investments will make a difference in the lives of our customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota. “The MTA is the lifeblood of the New York region’s economy and a critical element in its environmental sustainability. With extended routes, less crowding and more frequent service, the MTA will help New York thrive.”

In Queens, riders of the Q24, Q27, Q30, Q36, Q42 and Q76 will see routes restored or improved.

Service changes for the Q76 will go into effect in October, the other lines will see the adjustments in January.

State Senator Michael Gianaris released a statement prior to the announcement calling for re-establishment of service in western Queens.

“Recent transit cuts have been a burden on western Queens residents, who rely heavily on mass transit to get to and from work every day,” Gianaris said. “While it is nice to hear the MTA speak of restorations, service improvements must include Queens, which has suffered as much as any borough due to recent cutbacks.”

He mentioned specifically the eliminated W line and QM22 bus which were not part of the restoration.

The investments will cost approximately $29 million per year. The agency said increased ridership and savings will pay for the plan.