By Nily Rozic
Here in Eastern Queens, we are more than familiar with the term “transit desert.” Look no further than our Assembly district to see the lack of public transit options: without a single subway or train station, transit riders depend on buses as their primary mode of public transit.
But talk to a transit rider from Eastern Queens and the first thing he or she will tell you is how bus service is unreliable. While this is no surprise to nearly every rider accustomed to frequent delays, inconsistent service, and overcrowding, the challenges faced by Queens commuters are surmounted by our dependency on buses. Too often we’re conditioned from early on to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. For example, the slowest bus serving our district is the Q20A at 6.3 mph, and the Q46 comes in as the most bunched-up bus.
The Regional Plan Association recently highlighted transit access in Queens, where “fewer than four in 10 residents can walk to the subway.” An analysis of lines shows that Queens ranks last in subway access, and while the population continues to grow, transit access remains unchanged. Intra- and inter-borough transportation is so lacking that fewer than half of the 3.4 million trips made are made on transit.
Other issues including the LIRR Freedom Ticket proposal, Fair Fares campaign, express bus service improvements, and Bus Rapid Transit are among the many that riders could benefit from if done right.
Though progress has been made to improve our extensive network, these fixes are short-term. Bus Time and countdown clocks have helped riders get data of arrival times, but neither addresses the crumbling infrastructure that prevents our system from running and growing.
Transit riders are making their voices heard loud and clear. We no longer have the luxury of passing the buck or shirking responsibility to fix a historic underfunding of mass transit. Proposals are being presented to solve the crisis that has long plagued the MTA — and that’s where you come in.
I always want to hear from the community when new ideas are suggested. These dialogues are necessary for advocates and legislators alike when they craft and carry out proposals that will affect working families, students, and seniors.
During this legislative session, I urge you to reach out with experiences, concerns, and suggestions as I strive to ensure our voices are represented in Albany. Please email rozic
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows)