Queens bus routes get overhaul in effort to improve commute for residents in train deserts

Tuesday, March 29, 2022
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MTA transit engineers have redesigned almost all of the 85 bus routes in Queens.

JAMAICA, QUEENS (WABC) -- For generations of Queens residents, buses are a necessary evil.

They are a lifeline for work or school or medical appointments, but there is little joy in the journey.

With so many stops on so many routes sometimes, it's faster to walk.

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber says that is about to change.

"For so many people who are not living right on top of subway line buses are mass transit, we have to make it possible for them to move around the city quickly and efficiently," Lieber said. "Buses have to be faster than walking."

The MTA's Queens Bus Network Redesign's New Draft Plan was released Tuesday, and reflects over 11,000 comments from the first round of public polling.

The Queens bus route redesign will be one of the largest bus network redesigns in the country.

Transit engineers have redesigned practically every bus route in Queens- and there are a lot of them. A total of 85 routes through practically every corner of the borough. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards says it's long overdue.

"It's easier to get to Florida by plane than to get to Manhattan by train from here on some days," Richards said.

There are huge areas of Queens that have no subway service, which is compensated by a vast bus network.

"This is what getting around is like if you're in a train desert," Richards said. "The buses are unreliable. They're overcrowded and slow. The routes are outdated and schedules haven't changed."

Some bus routes are being shortened, while others will be lengthened.

The MTA will also be eliminating some stops altogether in an effort to make bus travel faster.

"I think that it's really important," Amy Thonnesen a Queens resident said. "I think that there's not a lot of subway lines that go down there. So I think that, like, people need to get from different boroughs and I think that would definitely be really helpful, yeah."

There will be 14 virtual public workshops, one for each community district, held through June to get suggestions and ideas from residents about the proposed changes in the New Draft Plan.

The first public hearing will be held April 18 and you can sign up for the workshop here.

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