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Queens Chronicle

Overnight service coming to Q53

Last Woodside-to-Rockaway limited bus at midnight is often crowded

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:17 am, Thu Jul 25, 2013.

There are two things that happen at midnight:

Cinderella’s stagecoach turns back into a pumpkin, and the last Q53 limited bus leaves Woodside for the Rockaways.

But after Sept. 8, the only person rushing to leave a party before midnight will be the fairy-tale princess. South Queens residents will be able to wait for the next bus.

Responding to a request from Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will add overnight service on the Q53 — which connects the Woodside LIRR station to Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park — beginning Sept. 8.

In a letter to Ulrich, MTA Bus President Darryl Irick said the agency will implement overnight service due to growing demand. Ulrich had asked the MTA to increase service in April when the A train was still shut down over Jamaica Bay due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Service was increased on both lines, and articulated buses were introduced on the Q52 — a limited line that runs from Arverne to the Queens Center mall along the same route as the Q53 — after Sandy forced the closure of the A train. Ulrich had requested overnight service in addition to more buses.

“A line service to the Rockaways resumed,” Irick wrote. “However, demand for bus service in the Cross Bay/Woodhaven Boulevard corridor is growing, and, as a result, we are increasing service.”

Currently, the last southbound Q53 leaves the Woodside LIRR station at midnight, while the last northbound bus leaves Rockaway Park at 1:10 a.m. Weekday service resumes at 5:40 a.m. southbound and 5 a.m. northbound. On weekends, service does not resume until 6 a.m.

After Sept. 8, hourly buses will run both directions between 1 and 6 a.m.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, said the agency announced in June its plans to add overnight service after looking at the overall ridership on the route.

“We’ve reviewed the route and noticed there was definitely an uptick in ridership,” he said. “We are responding to that increase.”

The route runs local in the Rockaways and along the segment between the Queens Center mall and Woodside, where it also connects with the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue transportation hub — the second busiest subway station in Queens — and Queens Center mall.

Along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, the bus is a limited service serving only busy stops such as Penelope, Metropolitan, Jamaica and Liberty avenues. It is popular with Rockaway residents who work in Queens and with high school and college students who live in the Rockaways and attend school elsewhere in the borough.

It is also popular with southern Queens residents who frequent bars and restaurants in Astoria, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside and Long Island City and the midnight bus from Woodside is often as packed as it is during rush hour.

Northern Queens residents often use it to travel to the beach. It is not uncommon to see people with surfboards on Q53 buses.

“Transportation continues to be a problem for residents in southern Queens,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park). “Any improvement is welcome news.”

Ortiz said the MTA is also reviewing ridership on the Q52 to see if adding overnight service is warranted there as well.

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1 comment:

  • rgen36 posted at 5:53 pm on Tue, Jul 23, 2013.

    rgen36 Posts: 0

    I see that the MTA has been able to find the funds to restore bus services that were cut but apparently not in Hamilton Beach. At the May 2012 Community Board 10 meeting, The MTA announced that effective this July 2012 , the Q11 bus that services Hamilton Beach will stop at 10:00 pm. We tried to explain to them that many of our non-driving teens and adults work at Resorts World or Queens Center Mall. Resorts World is a 24 hour operation and most stores in Queens Center Mall are open until 10:00 pm. The MTA’s answer was for them to take the Q11 Howard Beach bus and to either walk the boardwalk or use the pedestrian bridge that crosses over Hawtree Creek from 99th Street. I know that I wouldn’t want to use either of those at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. They’re under lit and desolate. Another problem with both of these entrances into Hamilton Beach, as many in Hamilton Beach know all to well, is the flooding that occurs during new and full moon high tides as well as most storms. Just this past week, the foot of the pedestrian bridge (between Davenport Court and Rau Court) was flooded with a foot of water until 3:30 am..
    Suggestions were made to the MTA about having the Q11 make one loop during the overnight hours. It could make it regular run through Howard Beach but make a right onto 102nd Street and come into Hamilton Beach. It would add less then 5 minutes to that run. The walk from the pedestrian bridge or the train station to the end of the 165th Ave. in Hamilton Beach is nearly 1 mile. I don’t understand how this is acceptable by the MTA. In a statement from James Harding, the Vice President of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs, the MTA “will continue to monitor ridership on this branch to determine if future adjustments are warranted.” Can someone please explain to the residents of Hamilton Beach how can they “monitor ridership” if there are no buses for people to ride in. That’s like trying to count the stars in the sky during daylight hours.
    Public transportation is vital to Hamilton Beach . Due to Hurricane Sandy many residents lost their personal vehicles . Many still have not been able to afford replacement vehicles which makes public transportation as vital as all of the other city services. What’s next? Sanitation is only going to make one pick-up a week instead of two because there isn't enough garbage. The residents of Hamilton Beach pay taxes like everyone else in this city. I see sign everywhere saying “ your taxes hard at work”. Funny…I've never seen those signs in Hamilton Beach. We urge the MTA to restore bus service into Hamilton Beach.
    Roger Gendron
    New Hamilton Beach Civic