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Cut in Q46 bus service stirs ire among riders

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Riders on the Glen Oaks branch of the Q46 bus line have a bit more than a month to take full advantage of the route before service along Union Turnpike is eliminated after 11 p.m. week nights and on the weekend.

The bus, which operates on Union Turnpike from the Nassau border to Kew Gardens, is the only bus line along the thoroughfare that basically splits the borough in half.

The dropping of night and weekend service has the residents of Glen Oaks and Floral Park furious. Students, Creedmoor staff and outpatients as well as the elderly who do not have cars will be affected the most by the bus cancellation.

“The elimination of the Q46 night and weekend bus service is a detriment to the communities who, like all New Yorkers, deserve safe and reliable access to public transporta­tion,” said state Assemblyman Mark Weprin. “The safety of our commuting public is a right and not a privilege and needs to be guaranteed.”

He said without the Glen Oaks branch service residents of the Floral Park and Glen Oaks communities, who depend on the line, will have to walk a long distance to get home, which is a security concern.

There are many elderly and college students who live in the area and the bus is their only form of transportation, Weprin said. Many of these people, he said, will be stranded or have to walk long distances to get to public transportation. There is no Long Island Rail Road, subway or express bus service in the areas north of Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks.

The Glen Oaks branch of the Q46 bus line is scheduled to end Sept. 8.

The Q46, the third busiest line in the borough, runs along Union Turnpike and connects northern Queens with the E and F subway lines in Kew Gardens. The LIJ branch, which will still operate, runs on Queens Boulevard, Union Turnpike, Lakeville Road and Hospital Road ending at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

The Glen Oaks branch runs along Queens Boulevard, Union Turnpike, 260th Street, 73rd Avenue, 73rd Road and Little Neck Parkway.

“It would affect me big time,” said Kevin Rickards, of Floral Park, about the cut to Q46 service. He noted that the boroughwide bus strike has also affected the area.

James Anyansi, a spokesman for New York City Transit, said the service to the Glen Oaks branch is being cut because passenger traffic on the line is extremely low in contrast to the LIJ bus route.

“We see an increase in ridership and increased revenue,” he said, about the LIJ line, “and the addition of more trips.”

He said a survey showed that in November 2001 there were 22,000 riders on the Q46 line. The LIJ branch accounted for 10.5 percent of the ridership and the Glen Oaks branch ridership was only 2.1 percent, while 87.4 percent of the passengers got off the bus along Union Turnpike.

From 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays of the 60 people taking the Q46 bus in the Glen Oaks, Floral Park and Bellerose area, 53 used the LIJ line compared to seven on the Glen Oaks line. All day Saturday, he said, 650 people used the LIJ branch and 65 used the Glen Oaks line, while on Sundays 400 commuters used the LIJ branch and 48 used the Glen Oaks service.

“A lot of people take these buses after midnight,” said Anita, who works at Creedmoor and did not want to give her last name. “Not only community members but employees at Creedmoor.”

John, another Creedmoor employee who declined to reveal his last name and was also waiting for the Q46 bus, said many of the interns, who do not have another form of transportation from the hospital, take these buses late at night.

“These buses are overcrowded as is,” he said. “In addition, many of the hospital’s patients — outpatients — take this bus to come to the hospital to get their meds.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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