“The hurricane wasn’t the problem,” said Philip McManus, founder of the Queens Public Transit Committee. “An over-saturated community with underserved people was.”
McManus, a resident of Rockaway Beach, takes public transportation to work every day, and said he had to start leaving almost an hour earlier than normal due to inconsistencies in his current bus route.
“I believe there has been a systematic government redlining of Far Rockaway and Rockaway,” he said.
McManus founded the committee in hopes of reinstating not only the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line, but also to eliminate tolls on the bridges and provide a voice in improving the bus routes and overall transportation to and from the Rockaways.
The Rockaway Beach rail line was destroyed in a fire back in the 1950’s, and was never restored. The MTA claims the line wasn’t restored due to low ridership, but McManus thinks otherwise.
“The Rockaway Beach line is a classic example of isolating, separating and the dividing of people,” he said.
Today, the group is working hard to improve and increase transportation to the peninsula to reduce travel time.
McManus explained that public transportation is so bad in the Rockaways that some of its students have the longest commute in the city, traveling over five hours every day to get to and from school in the Bronx.
McManus is looking for support within the community. The next scheduled organizing meeting is August 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, located at 333 Beach 90th Street in Rockaway Beach.
“One individual cannot change the MTA, we need to organize to fight for the people to get better transportation,” McManus said.