Queens bus commuters will soon experience major upgrades to their travels as the Queens bus network is set to receive its first major redesign since the 1950s!
On Tuesday, December 12th, the MTA unveiled their final proposal to completely redesign Queens’ bus network, realigning, shortening, or extending 41% of the bus’s routes with the aim of improving travel speed and reliability.
The redesign will focus on improving all-day and night bus frequency as well as adding connections to subways, the LIRR, and neighborhoods in other boroughs.
“We need a lot more express buses. It’s easier to get to Flordia by plane, than Queens to Manhattan sometimes by subway and bus,” stated Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
The Queens Bus Network Redesign initiative was first launched back in April 2019 and an original draft plan was revealed in December 2019. The initiative was picked back up in August 2021 after a COVID-related pause.
The current proposed final plan is based on feedback given on a draft plan published in March 2022.
The final plan proposes a total of 121 routes–91 Local routes, and 30 Express routes. This is eight more routes than what currently exists in the system.
Routes include four new routes, 15 new route labels, eight new 24-hour overnight routes, and 27 rush routes, a new type of route providing both a local and a non-stop portion. The number of bus stops in Queens will also be reduced resulting in faster service, though 83% of riders would continue to use the same stop.
With the new changes officials say 200,000 riders in the borough would wait no longer than 10 minutes for weekday buses between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Due to the borough’s lack of subway lines Queens is the city’s most bus-dependent borough, with nearly 800,000 bus commuters each weekday. The final proposal comes after nearly two years of public outreach to residents.
NYC Transit President Richard Davey stated:
Queens is a borough of buses. This redesign will make bus service in Queens better, delivering shorter wait times and more reliable service, which are key drivers of customer satisfaction that we are focused on in our Faster, Cleaner, Safer Plan.
The proposed plan will be subject to community board presentations, direct on-street engagement with riders, and open houses and and other pop-up opportunities before reaching a public hearing in 2024. The plan will then be taken to a vote by the MTA Board.
The MTA hopes to implement the changes in 2025 if all goes according to plan. The full plan can be found here.