By Courtney Dentch

The changes affect the Q27 and Q83 lines in Queens Village and the Q4, Q5 and Q85 routes in downtown Jamaica to accommodate a rise in ridership and to increase frequency, said Joseph Raskin, assistant director for government and community affairs for the MTA.

A Southeast Queens Local Area Transportation Study, completed last year, found a need for better and more frequent routes running in the north-south direction in the Queens Village area. The study also recommended service improvements to and from the Jamaica Center transportation hub.

“We're trying to provide a better level of service to southeast and eastern Queens following current traffic needs on city buses,” Raskin said. “They've been under consideration for quite a while.”

As of Sunday and Monday, changes went into effect on the Q27 and Q83 lines, Raskin said. The Q27 was extended two miles from its southern terminus at the Queens Village Long Island Rail Road station to 120th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard in Cambria Heights, he said. The extension will replace the Queens Village branch of the Q83, he said.

The Q27 travels between Bayside and Queens Village along Springfield Boulevard, and the line has seen a 4,000-person increase in ridership between 1998 and 2002.

“A lot of people are glad to see the service in place,” said Markisha Beckford, chairwoman of the Southeast Queens Transportation Advisory Committee. “This will connect the northern section of Queens and southern section of Queens. It's good for the school children too, who are commuting from southeast Queens to Bayside.”

The MTA is also rerouting limited stop service on the Q4, Q5, Q83, and Q85 lines bound for Jamaica Center. The buses will run along Liberty Avenue and 160th Street, instead of Archer Avenue, during the morning rush hour. The change should cut about two to three minutes from riders' trips to the Parsons/Archer subway station. That service was scheduled to begin Monday.

Also starting Monday, the Q4 is slated to offer reverse peak limited-stop service during the morning rush hour to accommodate riders commuting to eastern Queens. The bus travels along Archer Avenue, to Merrick Boulevard, and ends at Linden Boulevard and 235th Street.

“It's great for the people commuting out to southeast Queens in the morning for work,” Beckford said. “They've been waiting up to 20 minutes. This will make their commute easier and quicker.”

And while riders in southeast Queens are pleased with the service changes, many are awaiting a schedule to tell them when the bus will come, Beckford said.

“People are anxious to see a complete bus schedule come out so they know when they can catch the bus,” she said.

No information was available as to when the schedules would be posted.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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