Southeast Queens residents could be stuck looking for a ride on weekends this spring if the MTA follows through with proposed cuts for 15 bus routes, including Little Neck’s Q79 and College Point’s Q76.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed cuts to 40 routes citywide if the state Legislature does not bail out the bus, subway and commuter train transit system. The authority is facing a huge budget gap of $1.2 billion and has proposed both cutting transit routes and implementing rate hikes.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the authority could begin cutting bus routes in early spring.
“These are measures we don’t want to implement,” he said. “So we are counting on the state Legislature.”
He said he was unsure whether the proposed cuts would be temporary or permanent.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, said the cuts to the Q79 route would be a major inconvenience for residents in her district.
“The MTA should run smaller buses because they are always complaining of low ridership,” she said. “I live in Floral Park and if I didn’t have a car, that is the bus I’d have to use. And a lot of school kids use the Q79 to make connections.”
She said Q79 riders also rely on the bus to take them to the Long Island Rail Road or to connect to other bus routes along the Long Island Expressway.
The Q79, which only runs on Saturdays, stops at the LIRR station on 40th Avenue in Little Neck and travels down Little Neck Parkway in Little Neck, Union Turnpike in Glen Oaks, Little Neck Parkway and Hillside Avenue in Floral Park and Jamaica Avenue and 257th Street in Floral Park.
The Q76, which also only runs on Saturdays, drops passengers off at 132nd Street in College Point, Francis Lewis Boulevard and 26th Avenue in Auburndale, Northern and Francis Lewis boulevards in Auburndale and Francis Lewis Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue in Hollis.
Service would be cut completely on the weekend for both routes, Ortiz said.
“It’s not fair,” state Assemblyman Mark Weprin said (D−Little Neck). “This cuts people in eastern Queens off from the rest of the city. The Q79 is a lifeline for people in the Glen Oaks area to go to work, to go shopping, to visit friends or go to the doctor.”
In addition, all stops to six other bus routes, including the Q26, Q56, Q74, Q75, Q84 and X32, would be completely eliminated by the MTA under the proposal. The Q26 stops in Fresh Meadows and Flushing, while the Q56 stops in Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Brooklyn. The Q74 stops in Kew Gardens and Queens College and the Q75 stops in Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica, while the Q84 stops in Laurelton, Jamaica, Cambria Heights and St. Albans. The X32 stops at Bay Terrace, Jamaica, Oakland Gardens and the Bronx.
Weekend service would also be stopped on the Q14, which goes to Whitestone and Flushing, and the Q31, which stops in Bayside, Auburndale and Jamaica. Overnight service on the Q30, which stops in Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica, would be ended, while a portion of the Q24, which stops in Jamaica, Richmond Hill and Brooklyn, would be halted.
The operating hours on the Q42 to St. Albans and Jamaica as well as the Q48 to Flushing, Corona and LaGuardia Airport would also be reduced.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@time
©2009 Community News Group
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