By Michael Morton
But instead of improving their commutes, some riders of the Q83 and Q27 buses are complaining that the change is costing them more money and leaving them stranded late at night, according to those familiar with area transit routes.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said “the MTA decided it would be in the community's best interest to reroute the Q83. What they failed to do was actually consult the community.”
The changes began on Jan. 4, when the Springfield Boulevard section of the Q83 was transferred to the Q27's route.
The Q83 now runs from Jamaica center to Springfield Boulevard in Cambria Heights. The Q27 begins in Flushing, turns south in Bayside and then runs through Queens Village along Springfield Boulevard, terminating at 120th Avenue in Cambria Heights. The stretch of Springfield Boulevard between 114th Avenue and 120th Avenue is a new addition for the MTA since the old Q83 route did not run below 114th Avenue.
A driver on the Q83 said customers traveling from Jamaica subway station to Queens Village began complaining because they were forced to make two bus transfers instead of one, the second of which cost them an extra $2.
“Some of the nights I give them a free transfer,” said the driver, who asked not to be identified.
The driver also said that after 1 a.m. the Q27 does not run south of the Long Island Rail Road station in Queens Village. As a consequence, he said, commuters getting off at Murdock Avenue and Springfield Boulevard, the new transfer point for the two buses, must now walk a mile north to get to Jamaica Avenue.
That problem could be alleviated with late-night service, said Markisha Beckford, chairwoman of the Southeast Queens Transportation Committee, an advocacy group she founded. To solve the issue of transfer costs, Beckford suggested giving riders a free transfer, something she said the MTA has done in other situations, or reinstating Q83 service along its old route during rush hour.
Responding to complaints from constituents, Comrie held a meeting last week to let people voice their concerns. A flier posted at a St. Albans bus stop announced another gathering for Jan. 29 at 9 a.m. at MTA headquarters, 347 Madison Ave. in Manhattan. The flyer did not indicate who is organizing the event.
A spokeswoman said the MTA is aware of riders' concerns in the Queens Village area.
“We have received complaints from our customers and we are in the process of evaluating the current service plan,” she said.
While they do so the changes will remain in effect.
“Just like anything, people adjust,” said a bus dispatcher sitting in a Jeep at the Murdock Avenue and Springfield Boulevard intersection. “They get used to it.”
Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.