MTA releases revised design for new bus network in Queens

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A Q101 bus passes through Queens Plaza North and 27th Street. Photo: Marc A. Hermann/MTA New York City Transit on Flickr

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released a revised redesign of Queens’ extensive bus network, aiming to make service faster and more reliable for commuters. After the agency’s first draft plan in 2019 was not well received by the public (and garnered an unprecedented 11,000 comments), the MTA went back to the drawing board. The updated proposal for the bus network, which has not been significantly updated in over 100 years, includes revamped routes, new inter-borough connections, and the removal or consolidation of other lines.

Proposed local bus network; Courtesy of MTA

This is the MTA’s third borough redesign, following the rollout of express buses on Staten Island in 2018 and the bronx Last year. The draft plan is part of the city’s Fast Forward initiative, aimed at modernizing the city’s subway and bus systems.

“Queens is perhaps the largest of the five boroughs because Queens has always had less subway service relative to its size and population than other boroughs,” MTA CEO Janno Lieber said Tuesday.

Residents of Queens have expressed concerns over changes to the 2019 plan regarding route realignments and shortenings, connections to major subway stations, bus stops and changing route labels to “QT” and “QMT” instead of “Q”.

The plan released on Tuesday makes significant changes, but routes retain the “Q” name and many lines will be adjusted rather than replaced. Like amNew York Metro first reported, the new project has 85 routes, compared to the 82 currently in the borough. Of this number, 20 routes will be new and 17 will be extended. Other routes will be realigned or combined with existing routes.

Other changes include the removal of some bus stops to increase spacing between stops and increase bus speeds. The MTA is proposing to change the space between bus stops on local routes from 818 feet to 1,198 feet.

Before the pandemic, bus ridership in Queens fell 5.3% from 2014 to 2019, with about 40,000 fewer daily boardings on average. The MTA says slow bus speeds, reduced reliability and changing demographics are the causes of this drop in ridership.

To gather feedback from each neighborhood, the agency will hold 14 virtual public workshops starting April 18 for residents of each community council in the borough. You can register here.

You can also use the Remix Map to view MTA suggested bus routes and stops and provide feedback on Ilocal bus network and express bus network maps.

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Bus, MTA

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