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Photo: Carlotta Mohamed/QNS
As Queens commuters joined elected officials gathered to protest the MTA's bus redesign proposals, the agency announced more public outreach will be done.

The MTA’s proposal to completely redraw the Queens bus map has been met with such intense blowback from commuters and elected officials that the agency has announced more public feedback meetings across the borough in the coming weeks.

The draft plan that was released on New Year’s Eve has been so poorly received that the MTA will increase its efforts to an “unprecedented level of outreach” in an attempt to mollify Queens bus riders.

“Our citywide network redesign is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redraw each borough’s bus map to make it work better and for us to engage directly with our customers for their feedback on how to improve service,” Acting MTA Bus Company President Craig Cipriano said.

The 19 additional public workshops and presentations added by the MTA were released around the same time Queens bus riders and council members rallied against the draft plan at Borough Hall.

“I understand that the MTA has a daunting task in redesigning the entire bus network in Queens County and citywide, and I appreciate its efforts,” Councilman Robert Holden said. “It is important to remember that this plan is a draft with no set implementation date, and all of us Queens residents must provide as much feedback and opinions as possible so that we can work together with the MTA to find the best final plan imaginable.”

The MTA is adding additional community board and civic association meetings.

“Fast, safe, frequent and efficient bus service is crucial in northeastern Queens, which lacks easy access to the subway,” state Senator John Liu said.”In order to get this important long-overdue redesign right, bus riders and the public at large should take every opportunity to provide input on the draft plan. In turn, the MTA must thoughtfully and clearly consider that input and incorporate elements wherever optimal. As with any major overhaul, some riders will be better off while others will feel worse off. The MTA must engender public trust and confidence through earnest diligence and honest transparency.”

To view the draft plan and see the full schedule of public workshops and presentations visit the MTA’s Queens Bus Redesign website here.

“Queens bus network is long overdue for an overhaul that can provide reliable, accessible service for transit riders,” Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said. “Over the next few months I look forward to engaging with riders and NYC Transit to deliver a final plan that meets Queens’ transit needs.”

Critics charge that the redesign is away for the cash-starved MTA to cut costs by slashing service and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz said Andy Byford stated that the plan was devised within the “restrictions of fiscal constraints” before he abruptly resigned as NYC Transit president. Transit advocates agree that there must be improvements to the Queens bus system.

“The current Queens bus network is plagued by slow speeds and unreliable service, it has to change. Routes that have barely changed since the middle of the last century don’t align with where people live and work today,” TransitCenter Communications Director Ben Fried said. “”With the release of its draft redesign of the Queens bus network, the MTA has put forward an ambitious yet pragmatic plan to overhaul Queens bus service. After reviewing the plan, we believe it has the potential to substantially improve bus performance and transit access for Queens residents.”

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