The long and winding route: Panel examines why Q58 bus is so slow

The Queens Public Transit Committee wants to expand and revise the Q55 and Q38 bus routes.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Q58 bus line between Ridgewood and Flushing — named the slowest bus in Queens for six straight years — gets a bad rap, according to the Community Board 5 Transportation and Public Transit Committees.

At a joint meeting Tuesday night, the committees pointed to the long and winding route of the Q58, and the major thoroughfares it crosses, as causes for its lethargic nature.

“Look at where it passes. It goes all the way up and down Grand Avenue, which is truck-filled and bigger-vehicle filled, it turns on Fresh Pond Road, which can get messy, especially near the bus depot during rush hours,” Alexander Maureau said. “It passes Queens Boulevard near Queens Center Mall and it’s a long route anyway from Ridgewood through [Main Street-Flushing]. So it passes very heavy-traffic areas, and I honestly don’t think, unless cars come off the road, that you can increase the time of the 58 reasonably.”

The bus line already has regular and limited service buses, which skip certain spots along the route, running frequently, but the problem is the crowded route that it travels along.

“It’s not a straight run either, it goes in through Corona and comes around,” CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri said. “You can’t even straighten out [the route]. I used to take that [bus] in the middle of the night, daytime, it’s always a long ride, always … you have this connection between this area and Flushing and everybody in between wants to go to both places.”

Some ideas the committees came up with to possibly increase the amount of time it takes the Q58 to complete its route included skipping more stops or breaking up the route during the morning and evening rush hours should the ridership call for it, or having customers be able to pay their fare before they board the bus.

The committees also took a look at other local bus routes that could use some help.

One major roadway where buses are backed up during rush hours is 80th Street in Middle Village, which carries the Q29, Q54 and Q47 buses. The committees believe that one reason for this congestion is the inconsistency in the timing of the traffic signals on Metropolitan Avenue between 69th and 80th streets.

“We should be asking for a review of the traffic signal timing, morning and evening rush hours [on] Metropolitan Avenue from [80th Street] to [69th Street] to expedite the flow of traffic,” Arcuri said.

The apparent lack of Q55 buses during rush hours also raised concerns for the committees.

“Our concern is that we don’t believe there’s enough bus runs on the 55 route [during] morning rush hour and evening rush hour, the possibility of adding additional buses,” Arcuri said.

The committees will submit a request for a review of the number of Q55 buses on the route during the rush hour times.