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Queens bus lines cannot handle ridership: Report

Overall, the gap between the huge...

By Philip Newman

Transit officials have failed to provide sufficient service increases to match the meteoric rise in bus ridership, with riders of Q2 buses experiencing the worst crowding in Queens, a transit advocate agency reported.

Overall, the gap between the huge increase in numbers of passengers and numbers of buses was generally less severe in Queens than in other boroughs, the report by the Straphangers Campaign showed.

Queens ridership on MTA buses rose by 18.5 percent while service increased 18.3 percent.

Riders of the Q2 line, which runs between Jamaica and Belmont Park, got short-changed more seriously than any other Queens passengers. Ridership rose 37.3 percent while the Transit Authority increased service only 15.3 percent.

On the Q31 line, which runs from Ridgewood to Flushing, ridership was up 24.4 percent with only a 9 percent increase in service. On the Q31, which connects Jamaica and Bayside, ridership climbed 36 percent but service rose only 20.7 percent.

Riders of the Q14, which runs from Flushing to Whitestone, increased 18.5 percent compared to a 6.5 percent service gain and the Q13, connecting Flushing and Fort Totten, had a 29.3 percent passenger increase with a 16.3 percent service hike.

Citywide, bus ridership went up by 17.2 percent between September 1996 and September 2000 but service rose only 12.6 percent, bringing widespread crowding. The increase over the past four years, has been attributed largely to MetroCards with their transfers and discounts.

The greatest ridership increase of 134.4 percent was on the M60 bus, which runs from West 106th Street in Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport. The Transit Authority increased service 83.2 percent.

“Transit officials are responding to a torrent of new riders with a trickle of added service,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.

Transit officials acknowledged gaps between ridership and service but said both the numbers of buses and numbers of trips the buses make had been greatly increased.

The New York City Transit Authority said it had added 2,400 trips on weekend days and 5,000 trips on weekends and nearly 2,000 new bus drivers along with new buses.

Reach Philip Newman by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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