BY JAMES FARRELL
Several northeast Queens elected officials are calling on the MTA to reinstall an old bus route in an area frequently referred to as a “transportation desert.”
The MTA eliminated the Q75 bus route in a round of budget cuts in 2010. The line went from the easternmost edge of Oakland Gardens near Alley Pond Park and ran to Hillside Avenue and the F train stops in Jamaica. On Sept. 28, Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens)—along with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows ) and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), who is the chairman of the City Council’s transportation committee—held a press conference to voice support for reinstating the line.
“This part of Oakland Gardens—we call eastern Queens a transportation desert—it’s one of the driest, if not the driest part of the desert,” Grodenchik told the Queens Tribune. “There’s just nothing there.”
He added that residents near Alley Pond Park have a 10- to 15-minute walk for bus service.
Grodenchik sent a letter to the MTA, saying that “several residents” had requested the Q75’s return and that it would provide a “one-seat connection to the subway system.”
“Some residents of Oakland Gardens face undue hardship in accessing the nearest bus stops,” he wrote. “In particular, residents in the vicinity of 67th Avenue and 230th Street, where the Q75 bus route terminated, may have difficulty reaching other routes. Those who can access nearby bus routes may still have to transfer. MTA bus ridership data from 2015 and 2016 indicate increases of 0.4 percent across Queens, 4.6 percent on the Q88 and 3.0 percent on the Q30, both nearby routes.”
The MTA appeared unlikely to take Grodenchik’s suggestion, claiming that the Q75 was eliminated due to its 970 weekday riders, giving it the fourth-lowest ridership in the city.
“Currently, the Q88 and Q17 bus routes cover the same operating area as the former Q75 bus route,” said MTA spokeswoman Amanda Kwan.
She added that customers seeking a one-seat ride to Jamaica can access the westbound Q30 bus stop adjacent to the Cloverdale Street Pedestrian Bridge on the Horace Harding Expressway.