Teen wants MTA to revive X-bus to Manhattan

By Rebecca Henely

A Whitestone teen who attends school in Long Island City is circulating a petition asking the MTA to restore an express bus from Jackson Heights to Astoria and Long Island City to midtown Manhattan that had been cut last year.

“The service needs to be reinstated because people would use it if people knew about it,” said Ali Fadil, 17.

Fadil, who attends the Academy of American Studies, at 28-01 41st Ave. in Long Island City, has long been trying to find alternatives for the QM22 bus, which was done away with in March 2010. The bus ran on weekdays, offering service from Jackson Heights to midtown Manhattan early in the morning and from Manhattan to Jackson Heights early in the evening.

The teen declined to have the route he takes to school made public.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had discontinued the bus, saying it had not been used very much, but Fadil said the line’s existence had not been properly advertised.

A spokesman for the MTA said the agency had not received any communication from either Fadil or any legislators as of Tuesday evening and did not have a comment at this time.

In June, Fadil had gotten a private company to offer the service, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. Given that once-eliminated lines in Brooklyn have recently been restored, Fadil said he is hoping the same can be done for the QM22 line. He said that its not being considered for reinstatement is unfair.

The Astoria and Long Island City areas lost the W subway line last year and have grown in population at a greater rate than Brooklyn, the Rockaways or Howard Beach, where the MTA is considering restoring lost bus services.

“If they’re going to increase services, they’re going to have to increase it for everyone,” Fadil said.

He has been collecting petitions both online and by paper, amassing 100 signatures between the two so far. Fadil hopes to eventually get 1,000 signatures.

The teen has found allies in District Leader Costa Constantinides and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria).

Constantinides said doing away with both the QM22 and the W subway line has been contrary to the MTA’s message that commuters should use public services.

“Anything we can do to get cars off the road and into mass transit is a good thing,” Constantinides said.

Gianaris wrote a letter to MTA Chairman Jay Walder Tuesday requesting that the QM22 be restored. He said he had opposed the initial elimination of the line.

“We need that express service here as much as anyone,” Gianaris said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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