By Juan Soto
The Metropolitan Transit Authority is not just looking at the underserved southeast Queens neighborhoods to improve public transportation service, especially bus lines.
Although southeast Queens riders endure the longest commuting times in the city, the state agency also decided to look up to the north of the borough.
The MTA announce that is launching a full study to improve bus service in northeast Queens and examine the effects of the service cuts implemented in the area about five years ago.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said the cost of the study will be $500,000, money allocated in the State Executive Budget.
“When I announced the funding for this study, I noted that the neighborhoods in my district have always been underserved in terms of bus service and mass transportation options,” said Avella. “That’s is why this study is vitally important.”
The legislator hopes the study will identify the areas where “we urgently need to restore bus routes or create new ones.”
According to Avella, the study will look at the actual service provided in Flushing, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Bayside Hills, College Point, Oakland gardens, Douglaston. Glenn Oaks, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Mitchell-Linden, Bowne Park, Beechhurst, Bellrose, Fort Totten, Malba, Robinwood, Auburndale, Floral Park, Hollis Hills, Queens Village and new Hyde Park.
“I am pleased… the MTA has begun to take the first steps in improving bus service throughout the district and northeast Queens as a whole,” Avella said.
As part of the study, the MTA will reach out to civic associations and community members to involve the public “and ensure direct input.”
On Aug. 31, the MTA put in place a new Q114 bus line in southeast Queens, and the same day, it modified the layover of the Q17 and Q27 in downtown Flushing, in order to provide better service for the riders.
Once the study is completed, the state agency is required to report its findings to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate leaders for their review.
The MTA expects to finish the public transportation study by next spring.