Friedrich, Weprin spar for van credit

A passenger boards the Q79 bus along Little Neck Parkway in Floral Park.
By Howard Koplowitz

The recently shuttered Q79 bus line that ran from Little Neck to Floral Park is being considered for the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s group ride livery program and both City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Weprin family archnemesis Bob Friedrich are taking credit for the development.

Weprin, who squared off against Friedrich in the Democratic primary in 2009 and again in the general election when Friedrich ran as a Republican, said he wrote to TLC Commissioner David Yassky before Q79 service ended last month requesting the route be considered for the program. But Friedrich, who challenged state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) last year and is a candidate again this year, said he had also been in contact with the TLC and criticized Weprin for not doing enough to save the Q79. Friedrich is president of the Glen Oaks Village cooperative, whose residents used the Q7 route.

“His letter — too little, too late,” Friedrich said. “He needs to be held accountable for [the Q79’s] demise.”

Friedrich held a rally late last month imploring the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reconsider its decision to cut the Q79 and said the event “was just one component of what led to the TLC considering incorporating the Q79 into the [group ride] program.”

“There is no question that it was my conversations with the TLC office that is responsible for this line being considered,” he said.

Weprin said he did not understand how Friedrich could accuse him of doing more to save the bus line that ran along Little Neck Parkway.

“I’m not sure what he’s referring to,” Weprin said. “Politicians in election season might say anything, so I can’t respond to those types of comments.”

Weprin wrote a letter to Yassky June 23, suggesting the commissioner consider the Q79 for one of six commuter van routes Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would put in place in the wake of the MTA cuts.

Yassky wrote back June 30, saying the Q79 was among the six being reviewed for the group ride livery van service. The letter reached Weprin’s office July 6.

A day earlier, on July 5, Friedrich sent out a news release announcing that the Q79 was being considered for the program.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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