The affected buses include the QM2, QM32 and QM20 lines which the MTA name the QMT163 under the new plan. The route would operate between Beechhurst in Queens and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. But express bus riders said that this new route reduces and eliminates service to areas it previously serviced.
According to a flier created by the Vittorio Bugatti, founder of the Express Bus Advocacy Group on Facebook, the following is how the QMT163 affects Queens riders:
- Severe cuts to off-peak service, including no express bus service on Sundays, and no express bus service in Mitchell Gardens on weekends
- Eliminating all Third Avenue service to Powells Cove Boulevard/Le Havre
- Eliminating all Midtown express bus service along Utopia Parkway in Whitestone and 26th Avenue in Bayside
- Eliminating all Super Express trips on the QM2 and QM20 despite good ridership and saving riders 15 to 30 minutes over regular QM2 and QM20 service
- Service cuts to rush-hour service
MTA data from 2018 showed that the QM2 and QM32 saw an average weekday ridership of 1,690 people while the Q20 served an average of 1,025 every weekday, making these lines the fourth and eleventh most popular bus routes run by the MTA Bus Company.
The agency unveiled the draft proposal at the end of December and called on the community to provide feedback at a series of public workshops across Queens. But residents and politicians complained that eastern Queens residents were once again left out of the transportation discussion since the MTA failed to schedule workshops in neighborhoods like Bayside and Whitestone.
The @MTA has scheduled 8 workshops in #Queens to get feedback on @NYCTBus bus redesign. How is remotely possible that not one of the workshops is scheduled in communities most dependent on buses, namely #EasternQueens? We aren’t on the subway map and now this. #Disappointing pic.twitter.com/WPjeEbdfxV
— Barry Grodenchik (@BarryGrodenchik) January 8, 2020
“In northeast #Queens, where there is no subway access and limited public transportation options for commuters, the MTA should be increasing and improving bus service, not creating a more desolate transportation desert. We deserve a seat at the table,” said Councilman Paul Vallone on Twitter in response to a Patch story on this issue.
The Express Bus Advocacy Group flier encouraged bus riders to reach out to local politicians like Grodenchik, Vallone, Assemblymen Ed Braunstein and Ron Kim and Senator John Liu to make them aware of the need for the express buses.