QUEENS, N.Y. (PIX11) — Some changes could be arriving at a bus stop near you.
The MTA has been working to redesign the bus network in the city and its more than 300 routes. In Queens, riders are taking a look at a newly announced proposal; the public can comment and get more information online.
Additionally, 14 workshops to address public questions and new concerns are set for April, May and June.
Before the pandemic, community meetings were held in Queens, and riders expressed disagreement over the initial proposals. The MTA said 11,000 comments helped draft new ideas.
“We were definitely heard. They did simplify some routes and cut out the meandering, which means we will lose some bus stops,” said Jim Burke, a rider from Jackson Heights who helped organize community involvement in the process.
The proposals do consolidate bus stops, many of which were located two blocks apart. Geography, location and usage helped inform the decisions. More than 1,600 bus stops would be removed under the proposal, something that could impact accessibility for some New Yorkers.
“Our senior citizens and the ADA community must have bus stops that are easily available to them. This new plan calls for the elimination of many bus stops in Queens,” wrote Charlton D’souza of Passengers United.
Express bus routes are also impacted under the plan. Transit rearranged some trips, removed others and added more during busier times.
“If we’re talking about getting people out of cars and onto public transit, this plan, as it is, does not do that. People won’t wait 90 minute for a bus,” said Vittorio Bugatti, who runs an express bus advocacy group on Facebook.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards was critical of the first plan.
“I do think they made significant changes that got me on board and I look forward to listening to the community and we will continue to work with the MTA,” he said.
NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said the city and Adams administration are on board.
MTA officials promised equity for riders in Queens and the areas known as transit deserts without subway service.
“The New Draft Plan reimagines both local and express service to address the evolving needs of Queens communities, with a focus on more reliable service, faster travel, better connections, and ease of use,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.
Staten Island was the first to get the redesign and the new Bronx network will be in place this summer. Brooklyn proposals are being drafted.