Councilman Barry Grodenchik and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and David Weprin are urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to restore the Q75 bus, which connected the Oakland Gardens section of the neighborhood with Jamaica’s subways via Hillside Avenue, 188th Street and 73rd Avenue. The bus route was eliminated in 2010.
The lawmakers argued that the route’s removal took away a valuable one-seat ride for northeast Queens residents, who already have very few transportation options.
The change was especially hard on the area’s substantial senior population, who may be physically unable to commute between two buses to access the subway system, lawmakers said.
“In my district, we have no subway service and rely on MTA buses to get around,” Grodenchik said. “The restoration of the Q75 bus line would greatly improve the quality of life for seniors, students and residents across eastern Queens. It’s the MTA’s duty to prioritize restoration in areas where bus service is so critical. More transit options for the people of eastern Queens need to be funded to ensure our borough continues to progress.”
Rozic said the MTA has work to do to improve service and accountability “across the system.”
“In the many Queens neighborhoods without subway access, restoring Q75 bus service is integral to properly serving the community — from students to seniors who rely on mass transit in their daily lives,” Rozic said.
Weprin pointed out the route’s cancellation was part of the transportation agency’s 2010 service cuts totaling $93 million, which left the borough with “less than ideal bus service,” the Assemblyman said.
“The MTA has a responsibility to ensure that all residents in New York City have access to a public transportation option, especially those who live in transit deserts,” he said.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents sections of northwestern Manhattan and serves as chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, said he was committed to working with the Queens lawmakers to tackle the borough’s transit woes.
“Our transportation system is the lifeblood of the city and stimulates our economy,” Rodriguez said. “The Q75 bus connected hard-working middle class residents to work, recreation, healthcare and commerce. Losing this route is not good for New Yorkers, so it’s not good for New York.”
According to a northeast Queens bus study conducted by the MTA in 2014, most customers affected by the bus service cuts have found transportation alternatives, and nearly 1,000 people used the Q75 bus route on an average weekday.
Stephanie Burgos-Veras, a community organizer at the advocacy group Riders Alliance, thanked the lawmakers for pushing for an improved eastern Queens bus network.
“Bus service is a lifeline for communities far from the subway, and for elderly and disabled New Yorkers who are poorly served by other kinds of transit,” Burgos-Veras said. “As the city continues to grow, the MTA should look at the existing bus network and take opportunities to restore lost service and update routes to meet people’s needs today.”
An MTA spokesperson said the Q75 route had the fourth-lowest ridership in the city, which is why it was chosen to be eliminated. Residents in the neighborhood looking to access Jamaica can take the Q17, Q27, Q30, Q43 or Q88 buses, the spokesperson continued.