Make commuter van lines succeed the Q75, Q79 buses

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An open letter to city Taxi and Limousine Commission Commissioner David Yassky:

I am writing to you regarding the commuter van pilot project Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last month. I understand the program will establish up to six new commuter van routes in Brooklyn and Queens, and I have two suggestions for routes in eastern Queens that lost Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus service last month.

As you may know, eastern Queens has no subway access and only a handful of bus lines, so the residents of this area, especially students and seniors, rely heavily on buses. The MTA has eliminated the Q75 and Q79 buses, resulting in a severe loss of transportation options for the residents of Little Neck, Douglaston, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Jamaica Estates. My Queens colleagues and I implored the MTA to keep these bus lines, but now commuter van service might be a viable option in eastern Queens.

As the only north-south public transportation in eastern Queens, the Q79 provided access to transportation to the Little Neck Long Island Rail Road station and on the Q12, Q30, Q36, Q43, Q46 and X68 bus routes; shopping on Northern Boulevard, Horace Harding Expressway, Union Turnpike, Hillside Avenue and Jamaica Avenue; cultural amenities like the Queens County Farm Museum and Deepdale Gardens Community Center Pool; and medical facilities like Long Island Jewish Hospital, Zucker Hillside Hospital, the Little Neck Nursing Home and Brandywine Senior Living.

I believe Little Neck Parkway, along which the Q79 ran, would be an ideal candidate for a commuter van route.

Similarly, the Q75 allowed my constituents in Oakland Gardens and Fresh Meadows to access transportation on the F train and more than 25 connecting bus routes; shopping at the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center and on Springfield Boulevard, Union Turnpike and Hillside Avenue; outdoor recreation at Cunningham Park; and the Central Branch of the Queens Public Library.

In addition, the Q75 connected to the subway system, thereby providing a means of transportation to the rest of the city, helping to avoid isolation and keeping our city united. The discontinuation of the route will be burdensome to those who relied on it and the creation of a commuter route to replace the Q75 would alleviate the hardship.

I appreciate your consideration of the aforementioned routes for commuter van service and I look forward to your reply.

Mark Weprin

City Councilman

Oakland Gardens

Updated 6:14 pm, October 10, 2011
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