Ali Fadil was looking for a faster, less expensive way for people in Northeast Queens to get into lower Manhattan.
So he decided to go to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and just ask.
Fadil has gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition asking that the QM20 bus line, which now runs from Bay Terrace across the river to 6th Avenue as far south as 34th Street, have occasional scheduled runs downtown.
He also has gathered support from a number of elected officials, with Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) among those attending a rally held May 17 at the line’s bus stop at Union Street and 26th Avenue.
“Right now, getting to lower Manhattan is inconvenient and expensive,” Fadil said. “You need to make two transfers to the 6 or 4 line, or take the R train, which we say stands for ‘Rarely.’ Or you have to take the LIRR, which is more expensive.”
The QM20 also does not run on weekends, Fadil said.
Fadil said all the riders in the Northeast are asking is an accommodation such as the one that exists on the QM7/8 line, which originates in Fresh Meadows and has regular buses that head south once they exit the Queens Midtown Tunnel.
Fadil said the addition would help employees, college students and others seeking a better commute to and from downtown.
He has gathered 1,166 signatures on the petition that he intended to present at a meeting of the MTA board on Wednesday.
“And a lot of those were from people who take the QM7,” he said. “They’re tired of people from up here driving down there and taking up parking spaces in their neighborhood just so they can take the bus.”
Braunstein and Halloran said it is no secret that the Northeast is underserved by bus transportation, especially following service cuts and the elimination of routes in the past few years.
“We just want what everyone else has here in Northeast Queens,” Braunstein said.
A representative of State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) released a May 15 letter to MTA Bus President Darryl Irick affirming the lawmaker’s support.
“Many Northeast Queens residents are upset because they have to pay a double fare for a two-seat ride,” Meng wrote, saying that even taking the Long Island Rail Road requires a transfer.
“As you can see, it is very tedious and time-consuming as well as expensive for residents of Northeast Queens who commute to lower Manhattan daily,” she wrote.