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Northeast Queens elected officials want more Bus Time and have penned a letter to the MTA hoping to keep the borough from the bottom of the priority list.
The agency’s online real-time bus tracking service has already signed onto various routes throughout the city, but only includes the Q50 in Queens to date. As it continues rolling out the program across the city, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Queens — which relies heavily on wheels to get around — would be the last borough to see the service on all routes by April next year.
“Residents in this area of eastern Queens, without ready access to the subway, rely on bus service to take them to work or important appointments,” said state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). “Therefore, with the MTA’s stated goal of expanding the MTA Bus Time program in Queens, it would make sense that eastern Queens would be given priority consideration.”
Avella, along with eight other elected officials from eastern Queens, signed a letter to acting MTA President Thomas Prendergast urging the agency to prioritize the Q46 route along Union Turnpike as part of the program.
In the letter, officials described the route as an essential link between the eastern part of the borough from the subway stop at Kew Gardens through Kew Gardens Hills, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village and Glen Oaks.
“The Q46 should be the highest priority in the MTA’s planned expansion of the Bus Time program,” said state Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing). “It would bring much relief to the transit desert of eastern Queens, and would connect communities and commuters in real time. The Q46 is a lifeline for many other residents and the program would make their lives easier and efficient.”
Officials went on to make their case in the letter by professing the bus route’s importance for residents headed for Queens Borough Hall, Queens General Hospital, St. John’s University, Creedmoor State Hospital and Long Island Jewish Hospital.
“The Q46 runs through the heart of Queens and connects with many important transit centers,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing). “Bus Time would be a major benefit to the hardworking riders of the Q46.”
As of this week, the Bus Time pilot program had reached more than 100 routes but was readily available for only the Q50 route in Queens, which goes from Flushing through Co-op City and Pelham Bay in the Bronx.
So while the MTA continues to make the pilot program available throughout the city, northeast Queens officials said their borough was demanding any help it could get.
Other elected officials who also signed the letter included Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), City Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing), Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).
The Bus Time program was designed to alert riders to the status of their commutes in real time, the MTA said, with the locations of different buses available on the Web, by text message or via smartphone. It was launched in January with its first routes in Staten Island, the MTA said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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