MTA changes course on service cutbacks for two major bus lines serving eastern Queens areas

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tdorante10

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced on Monday that service will be restored to the Q46 and Q44 bus routes after reaching an agreement with the MTA and New York City Transit (NYCT).

“I am thankful that the MTA and NYCT listened to the concerns of the eastern Queens bus riders and restored Q46 and Q44 service — outer borough transit riders must not be neglected,” said Rozic. “These service investments will give riders more options to get where they need to go, more options during rush hour, and more reason to use subways and commuter trains instead.

The changes, first of which are to begin in the coming season, will help alleviate some of the recent budget cuts that were felt in all five boroughs. The funding for the changes will come from the outer borough transit funds secured by legislators and will have no impact on the MTA budget.

There will no longer be service cuts on the Q46 and Q44 lines after Rozic had expressed her opposition to service adjustments in January to the Q46 bus route, which primarily runs along Union Turnpike from Forest Hills to New Hyde Park. The NYCT decreased Q46 service by reallocating a number of trips to the local AM peak hours from the limited service.

According to Rozic, following the cuts, constituents had complained of lengthy delays and wait times along the Q46, which runs primarily along Union Turnpike through Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Jamaica, Oakland Gardens, Glen Oaks and Floral Park.

“The New York City Transit Authority needs to improve service and accountability across the system, and it must develop a plan for both improving and increasing bus service,” said Rozic, whose district has no subway or train service. “Outer borough transit riders must be a priority and sadly at NYCT, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

There were also planned cuts for the Q44 bus line that had not yet been implemented, but have been canceled and service will continue as is, according to Rozic’s office. The Q44 is a Select Bus Service line between Jamaica and the Bronx and serves the heart of Downtown Flushing along Main Street.

With an agreement in place to revert the cuts and service changes, Darryl Irick, president of the MTA bus company, said they’re pleased to be able to provide additional bus service along Main Street and Union Turnpike, allowing riders to get where they’re going efficiently, in a way that doesn’t add costs to the MTA.

“Improving bus service is a huge priority to the MTA,” said Irick. “Which is why we’ve launched a comprehensive, borough by borough, bus route redesign effort so we can provide better service to all New Yorkers.”

Riders Alliance Senior Organizer Stephanie Burgos-Veras said that restoration of bus service on the Q44 and Q46 represents a “giant leap” for riders.

“As part of state leaders’ comprehensive transit funding package, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic delivered better bus service for thousands of Queens riders, many with punishing commutes far from any subway station,” said Burgos-Veras. “As advocates for better transit and congestion pricing, we argued that it wasn’t just about Manhattan nor just about the train. Today, the proof is in better bus service for eastern Queens.”

Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign said, “With the recently passed congestion pricing plan, we can finally restore services that were cut due to lack of funding for our subways and buses. If we are to encourage fewer people to commute by car, we must make sure that transit is a viable and efficient alternative, especially in parts of the city that lack subway service and tend to be more auto-dependent.”

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