2013-09-18 / Features

Gianaris, Riders Alliance Welcome Impr oved Bus Ser vice

Riders Alliance members and state Senator Michael Gianaris, who have been pushing for better waterfront bus service for Astoria and LIC’s waterfront, praised the MTA for responding to their advocacy and making improvements to the Q103 bus. The MTA implemented bus service improvements to the Q103 on September 9.

Improvements to the Q103 include:

 The MTA is adding 20 percent more service in total; there used to be 25 runs a day on the Q103 and now there will be 30.

 The new service is concentrated during the morning rush, when buses used to come every 20 minutes and now will run every 15 minutes. That is 33 percent more service during the morning rush.

 The service will start earlier and end later. The first bus will run at 5: 40 a. m. instead of 6: 10 a. m., and the last bus will end at 7: 50 p. m. instead of 7: 18 p. m.

The MTA also announced that it will adjust Q102 schedules so that the posted schedules will more accurately reflect when the bus is expected to arrive.

These bus improvements for local riders follow months of advocacy from Gianaris and members of the Riders Alliance. In early March through May of this year, Riders Alliance members surveyed bus riders to identify the problems

Q103 riders were experiencing. Riders identified frequency and reliability as their greatest concerns. The Riders Alliance then wrote to the MTA requesting improved bus service, and followed up by asking riders to sign a petition calling on the MTA to improve service.

The changes being implemented today are positive steps toward achieving the goals the riders laid out.

As Astoria and Long Island City have become New York City’s hottest neighborhoods,

Gianaris has fought to ensure transportation infrastructure keeps pace with the rapid growth of these areas. He has worked with community groups like the Riders Alliance and local residents to fight for increased service on the Q102 line and has repeatedly called for expanded

Q103 service to include nights and weekends.

Gianaris first officially requested Q103 service be expanded in a letter to the MTA in August 2012. Since then he has kept the pressure on the MTA to make improvements to these two bus lines and elsewhere in Western Queens to ensure that transit options increase as neighborhoods in this community continue to grow and thrive.

Bobby Preti, Riders Alliance member and Astoria bus rider, said, “Knowing that my bus will come more often and according to schedule is a welcome change. It’s clear that our petitioning worked, the MTA heard us, and we thank them.”

Gianaris said, “I thank the MTA for instituting these sorely needed bus service improvements, and for recognizing that our community’s need for better mass transit is real and pressing.

As Western Queens continues to include our city’s fastest growing neighborhoods, we need to make sure public transportation keeps up. I look forward to continuing to work with the Riders Alliance and members of our community to improve mass transit in Western Queens.”

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan said, “These improvements will provide a more efficient and reliable bus service for the Long Island City and Astoria communities. I would like to thank both the Riders Alliance and Senator Gianaris for pushing for these changes that will help both residents and businesses in the area.”

Assemblymember Aravella Simotas said, “The expanded Q102 and Q103 bus service will be a major resource for all Western Queens commuters, especially for our seniors. This fastgrowing community can only continue to flourish with effective transit options for its residents and workers. I congratulate Senator Gianaris and the members of Riders Alliance for their hard work on behalf of commuters throughout New York City.”

Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr. said, “The population of Western Queens is continually growing, and public transportation options in the community need to expand along with it. The improvements to these two bus lines are a good start, and I will continue to work with Riders Alliance to ensure our borough gets its fair share of services.”

Amy Hau, director of Administration and External Affairs at The Noguchi Museum, said, “For those of us who live and work in Long Island City, we rely on the Q103 to connect vital North/ South points along the Western Queens waterfront. The influx of new residents have brought more cultural programming and neighborhood activities on weekends (from events at SculptureCenter, MoMA/ PS1, The Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park...). Residents and visitors alike need the Q103 service to run on Saturdays and Sundays more than ever.”

Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of the Chocolate Factory Theater, said, “The Q103 bus is the only means of public transportation that connects the Western Queens waterfront communities where important cultural and destination groups like The Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, MoMA/ PS1, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Long Island City Community Boathouse and others serve hundreds of thousands of visitors and local residents each year with arts programming, farmers’ markets, free kayaking, and more. Increasing service to our venues and services means more customers to our local businesses, better access to the beautiful waterfront and improved quality of life for Western Queens residents!”

Bethany Goldszer, program director of Jobs Plus at East River Development Alliance (ERDA), said, “At ERDA, we are excited to celebrate the MTA’s announcement of expanded service on Q102 and Q103 bus lines. Improved bus service will impact Astoria Houses residents in a meaningful way, in terms of better access to educational, employment, and cultural offerings that New York City has to offer. We can’t wait to help spread the good news!”

Dana Frankel, District Services manager at the Long Island City Partnership, said, “Increased frequency and reliability of these bus lines is a step in the right direction for improving public transportation in Western Queens. As LIC welcomes new residents, visitors and businesses, these linkages have become increasingly important.”

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