Last week, State Senator Tony Avella announced that $500,000 was allocated to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to fund the study.
“Bus service is so very important to the people who live in this community,” said Avella outside his Byaside office last Thursday. “There are simply not enough buses serving northeast Queens.”
In 2010, the MTA eliminated funding for several bus routes in the area. For example, the Q14 in Whitestone was eliminated, causing overcrowding on the Q15, according to Avella. The state senator also said there are not enough options for riders.
“Most of the bus routes go east and west to the subways, but there are very few that run north-south,” he said.
The MTA will have one year to complete the study. Wording in the grant requires the agency to seek input from community boards and local residents.
My district is a transit desert, meaning we don't have one single train stop, so we rely solely on bus service,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “Requiring the MTA to study how to improve bus service in northeast Queens delivers on our commitment to commuters.
If the study does find that routes need to be extended or new routes need to be implemented, Avella said it will be up to state legislators to find the money to fund the changes.
“This study is just the beginning,” said Avella. “It will just be the ammunition we need to make the argument.”