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Borough bus riders face spring schedule changes

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Some Queens riders on New York City Transit Authority bus routes could soon find their waiting times lengthened slightly as the result of proposed new spring schedules. But waiting times would actually be reduced on some routes.

The longer waits between buses are part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s cutbacks that the agency says would save $6.3 million a year as part of a campaign to cut costs at a time of major financial problems.

The Transit Authority said the proposed schedule changes would require 68 fewer bus operators and 26 fewer buses citywide.

But some transit advocacy activists said cuts in service were inappropriate at time of rapidly rising numbers of bus passengers.

“This is going to bring not only longer waits but more crowded buses,” said Gene Russianoff, a lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, the transit watchdog agency.

The number of passengers on Transit Authority buses has risen by nearly 50 percent since 1996, in great part because of the free transfer from bus to subway and vice versa.

“Bus schedule changes identified for implementation in spring 2003 are a product of New York City Transit’s continuing effort to review and revise bus schedules to ensure that they accurately meet customer demand and current operating conditions,” the transit agency said. “These changes also address the need for running time adjustments to reflect observed traffic conditions.”

Only six bus routes in Queens were involved in the new schedules, the least of any borough.

The changes with bus number, day of week and waiting time in minutes:

Q24 (Saturday) present schedule: AM 12 minutes, Midday 10.5 minutes, PM 10 minutes. Spring schedule: AM 10, Midday 10, PM 10.

Q24 (Sunday) present schedule: AM 12, Midday 12, PM 12. Spring schedule: AM 15, Midday: 12, PM 12.

Q42 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 8.5, Midday 30, PM 10 Spring: AM 10, Midday 30, PM 15.

Q54 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 4.5, Midday 15, PM 8.5. Spring: AM 6, Midday 15, PM 10.

Q54 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 8, Midday 12, PM 8. Spring (summer/closed schools) AM 8.5, Midday: 15, PM 10.

Q58 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 4.5, Midday 7.5, PM 6.5. Spring and summer (closed schools) AM 6, Midday 7.5, PM 7.5

Q59 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 12, Midday 20, PM 15 Spring: AM 12, Midday 20, PM 15.

Q59 (Saturday) present schedule: AM 20, Midday 15, PM 15. Spring: AM 20, midday 15, PM 15.

Q59 (Sunday) present schedule: AM 30, Midday 20, PM 20. Spring: AM 30, midday 20, PM 20.

Q88 (weekdays) present schedule: AM 3, Midday 7.5, PM 4 Spring: AM 3.5, Midday 7.5, PM 4.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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