The defunct Q79 bus route that stretched from Little Neck to Floral Park will be included in the city Taxi and Limousine Commission’s livery van group ride program, thanks to City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), TLC Commissioner David Yassky announced.
Weprin asked that the route, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority cut last month, be included in the program, as did former Weprin opponent and current state Assembly candidate Bob Friedrich — which led to both men taking credit for Yassky’s decision.
But in a statement, Yassky appeared to have settled the war by saying Weprin “was the first to contact me to say that the TLC should consider the Q79 route for livery van group ride service.”
Weprin’s “timely and thoughtful input was helpful in our review process,” Yassky said, making no mention of Friedrich.
The councilman called the inclusion of the Q79 route in the pilot program “a viable option for local residents.”
“TLC’s quick evaluation process yielded positive results for eastern Queens,” he said.
Friedrich said it was “preposterous” for Weprin to take credit for the TLC’s decision, claiming Weprin was one of the legislator’s responsible for the elimination of the Q79.
“The demise of the Q79 is a failure of elected officials who denied funding for this bus line and then complained about its demise,” he said in a statement. “It is shameful that this lifeline for our seniors was allowed to expire with no alternative means of transportation provided.”
Weprin said his colleague, Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), also deserved credit for the development because he “was a strong advocate for maintaining service on the Q79.”
“I am thrilled to see that the Taxi and Limousine Commission has intervened where the MTA came up short,” Halloran said. “This livery group ride service will pick up the riders who were stranded when the Q79 was cut. Many former Q79 riders were students and seniors who had no other way to get home for work or school. I am confident this pilot program’s success will show how badly these underserved areas need more public service options.”
Weprin noted the Q79 was the only north-south public transit route in northeast Queens.
The councilman also asked Yassky to include the former Q75 route that served Fresh Meadows into the group ride program, but it did not make the cut.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community News Group
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