That's at least according to the transit advocacy group the Riders Alliance, who last week presented the northeast Queens assemblywoman with a trophy for her advocacy on behalf of bus riders at a busy stop at the intersection of Main Street and Booth Memorial Avenue in Flushing last week.
“People rely on the buses to get to school, medical appointment and to see friends,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance. “But often they are slow and vulnerable and there aren’t enough of them.”
Rozic was instrumental in getting two bills through the legislature last year that directly impacted bus riders.
One was a bill to allow for more fare boxes so the riders can prepay before they board the bus, speeding up boarding times, while another would make it easier to enforce traffic laws pertaining to parking in a bus lane by employing cameras to catch offenders.
“As someone who has taken buses her entire life, I know how important they are,” Rozic said.
Handel Forde is a resident of Kew Gardens and uses the Q44 and Q46 to get to downtown Flushing and the 7 train. He would like to see a plan to bring Select Bus Service to Main Street implemented.
“The buses have to compete with traffic and the congestion, slowing them up,” he said. “I want to see smart and efficient bus service.”
The city is working on a plan to implement Select Bus Service on this portion of Main Street, but the plan has met with some trepidation from the local community because a dedicated bus lane could take away valuable parking spots.
About 15 or so small businesses between Booth Memorial Drive and the Horace Harding Expressway rely on the spots for their customers who drive, said Don Capalbi of the Queensboro Hill/Flushing Civic Association.
“The focus needs to be on the businesses in the community,” he said. “They should not be negatively impacted and suffer from Select Bus Service.”
Rozic said when those in government focus on mass transit, they often overlook the importance of buses. In addition to more Select Bus Service routes, the assemblywoman would also like New York City Transit to put a priority on more express bus routes to and from Manhattan.
“Buses are the stepdaughter of the transit system,” said Rozic, whose district doesn’t include a single subway stop. “We need to restore the cuts, especially to weekend and night service, that occurred in 2010 and really affected people in northeast Queens.”