The articulated buses running on the Q10 line are continuing to cause problems, according to Community Board 9’s Transportation Committee chairwoman.
During her committee report at the board’s Feb. 11 meeting, Andrea Crawford said businesses and residents have been complaining about the longer buses that have been serving the Q10 route between Kew Gardens and JFK Airport since last April. The MTA said ridership is the reason they decided to run the buses on the line, which is often used by airport workers and commuters accessing the subway or LIRR in Kew Gardens.
The longer buses meant the MTA had to make some bus stops bigger and take away parking spots in neighborhoods where parking is a commodity.
“We’ve heard from businesses and from residents who say these buses are a big problem,” Crawford said.
One Kew Gardens resident said the buses have been causing tieups along Queens Boulevard across from Borough Hall, where they pick up passengers and that the problem has only gotten worse with the snow.
“The back of the buses block traffic,” the resident said. “And it takes a good 15 minutes to load the buses there, so that’s a long time to be obstructing traffic.”
Other problems brought up by residents include the wide turns the buses make on tertiary streets in Kew Gardens and the back of buses sticking out into intersections while stopped, which is especially a problem at Jamaica and Metropolitan avenues.
But some commuters like the buses.
“The buses are always crowded,” said rider Janet Pharraj of Richmond Hill. “I still don’t get a seat on the longer buses, but there’s room to stand.”
Another commuter, who didn’t want to give his name, said he understands the issues, but the commuters should come first.
“Maybe people will take the bus more often than drive now that you can actually get on one,” he said.
The MTA did not say exactly how many more passengers the articulated buses can serve, but in other cities where the buses are used, they have been claimed to carry up to 50 percent more passengers than regular buses.
In October, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the Q10 line is one of the city’s busiest, with an average weekday ridership of 25,000, more than double the average weekday ridership citywide of all bus routes. Besides serving airport workers, the line is also a feeder route for commuters accessing three subway lines — the E and F trains at Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens, the J and Z trains at Jamaica Avenue and the A train at Liberty Avenue, both in Richmond Hill. The line also allows for a quick connection to the LIRR at Austin Street and Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens. Commuters also note that employees who live in South and Southeast Queens and work in and around the borough’s “civic center” surrounding Borough Hall and the Queens Criminal Court also use the line.
The articulated buses serve the line’s limited route, which runs from Kew Gardens up Lefferts Boulevard and into JFK Airport before connecting the Long Term Parking lot at Lefferts to the terminals via Pan Am Avenue.
Crawford said the MTA was scheduled to come to the board’s April meeting to discuss the articulated buses a year after it introduced them, but had no plans to remove them from the route.
Articulated buses are relatively new in the borough. Besides the Q10, the MTA runs them on the Q6, Q7, Q44 and Q52.