Reimagined Network Driven by Customer Feedback
First Virtual Public Workshop to be Held April 18
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today announced the release of the newly developed Queens Bus Network Redesign’s New Draft Plan. The MTA’s New Draft Plan reflects over 11,000 comments received during the first round of public engagement. The Queens Bus Network Redesign is one of the largest bus network redesigns in the country, with over 100 routes, serving almost 800,000 average weekday riders in 2019, and is now the third project of the MTA’s ambitious initiative to rework and enhance bus networks in every borough.
The New Draft Plan is a forward-thinking redesign focused on routing, bus stop locations, and frequency proposals that aim to address the evolving needs of local communities, considering factors such as population growth, travel patterns, commute times, and off-peak ridership for current and future Queens riders. There will be 14 virtual public workshops held through June – one workshop for each community district in Queens. At these workshops, attendees will be provided information about all the changes proposed in the New Draft Plan and will be able to share their questions, comments, and concerns.
“The Queens New Draft Plan is the third to be released, but in some ways, may be the most important of the five because Queens has, historically, had less subway service relative to its size and population than the other boroughs,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “So many people depend on buses for access to jobs, education, culture and everything else New York has to offer. The New Draft Plan reimagines both local and express service to address the evolving needs of Queens communities, with a focus on more reliable service, faster travel, better connections, and ease of use.”
“We are another step closer in tackling one of our most ambitious initiatives of redesigning every borough’s network,” said New York City Transit Interim President Craig Cipriano. “With a bus network that will optimize bus routes and provide better connections to the rest of the transit system, Queens residents are on the road to receiving a redesigned bus network that is better suited to their needs in an ever-evolving city.”
“Redesigning a bus network is no easy feat,” said MTA Bus Company President Acting President and New York City Transit Department of Buses Senior Vice President Frank Annicaro. “It is a complex process that involves intricate research, planning, and community input. We are excited to reach this next step in the Queens Bus Network Redesign process that will deliver noticeable service improvements to Queens.”
More direct routes. Implementing more direct routes allows for faster service. Downtown Flushing and Jamaica are areas where effects of congestion hinder bus service. A contributing factor to this congestion are bus routes that terminate in these areas. A series of proposed routes that serve downtown Flushing and Jamaica will travel through these congested areas, instead of terminating there.
Balanced Bus Stop Spacing. Removing and adjusting closely spaced bus stops along routes results in fewer route turns and faster service. The seconds saved per trip by having fewer bus stops have a positive cascading effect on overall travel times.
Bus stop placement is also key in filling gaps in the bus network; proximity to key destinations and transfer points are important components in deciding bus stop locations. In the proposed redesigned draft plan, placement of bus stops expands the reach of accessible public transportation.
Enhanced Connectivity. The proposed redesign presents new connections, enhancing connectivity at key transfer locations necessary to ensure customers have a smooth transition between buses and other modes of public transportation. The plan focuses on expanding connectivity to ADA accessible subway stations, including stations that have been identified to receive accessibility upgrades in the near future.
Bus Priority. The MTA will continue working with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to build upon existing efforts of expanding bus priority improvements on corridors throughout the city, implementing measures such as dedicated bus lanes, queue jumps, and transit signal priority.
Improved Accessibility and Customer Experience. The MTA and DOT will continue to work to increase bus stop accessibility throughout the borough and citywide, along with the roll out of real-time digital service information screens on buses, and countdown clocks at bus stops.
“The majority of Queens residents rely on public transportation for their commutes and making sure their buses are running on time and unobstructed has been one of our top priorities,” said NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We strongly support the holistic efforts of the borough bus network redesigns to improve bus service, through simplified routings, improved access to important destinations, and improved bus stop spacing.”
“Queens families rely heavily on bus service that can often lack in efficiency and reliability, especially in our many transit deserts, so it could not be more important that we get this redesign of our borough’s bus network right,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “If our communities are fully engaged and involved in this process, getting it right is what we’ll achieve. I encourage all our residents to familiarize themselves with the MTA’s draft plan and I look forward to working with the MTA to ensure our families are not only actively involved, but centered in this redesign.”
"Two years ago, our community came out in force to voice their concerns about the MTA’s original bus redesign, finding that it fell far short of our expectations,” said State Senator John C. Liu, member of the Senate Committee on Transportation. “With this new draft plan, we are eager to see that the results of our feedback include several driving principles to expand and improve the bus network, get more commuters on the bus, and include more express service. We encourage all commuters to read the report and participate in the upcoming workshops to make sure this new redesign offers the best possible plan for Queens."
“Southeast Queens residents deserve a transportation system that can get them around the city quickly and efficiently,” said NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “The MTA conducted a robust outreach campaign for their first redesign proposal, and I am pleased that my constituents will receive another opportunity to provide insightful feedback for their New Draft Plan. I look forward to working with the MTA on a bus network redesign that will reimagine and enhance bus routes for all Southeast Queens residents. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to connect historically segregated communities from economic centers.”
"My district is a transportation desert, and increasing my constituents' options to get around the city and borough is critical," said Council Member Robert Holden. "I look forward to working with the MTA on ensuring that their New Draft Plan for the Queens Bus Network Redesign addresses the needs of my constituents."
“In Queens, buses are the core of our transit system for mothers, immigrants, and many working class families,” said Council Member Julie Won. “The MTA wants a Queens bus redesign that recognizes the needs of our communities and improves our bus service. It is crucial that we show up and let the MTA know where we need to go - to our doctor's office, to our daycare, to our business, to our parents. This is a once in a generation chance to shape the city we live in for the better.”
"The Queens Bus Network Redesign initiative is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the community to weigh in on how we address long-standing inequities in public transit,” said Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson. “As a Southeast Queens resident and commuter, I know the persistent challenges our residents face in being able to enjoy a timely, reliable, and affordable commute. Far Rockaway itself is geophysically isolated from the rest of the City, while the rest of my district is on average more than 15 minutes away from a subway station, resulting in heavy usage of buses for a mass commute. During the pandemic, Black and brown essential workers still commuted to work, and we even saw bus ridership surpass subway ridership during the summer of 2020. Expanding and revamping our bus network is a cost-effective way for New York to propel its transit system forward, especially as we look to expand access to essential workers living in transit deserts and redirect existing lines to connect more riders to the subway system. I greatly look forward to the MTA's public education workshops in the coming months, and I strongly urge the community to join and make their voices heard in this upcoming process."
“I appreciate that the MTA acknowledged that the first draft of the Queens Bus Network Redesign was flawed and opted to develop an entirely new draft plan, taking into consideration over 11,000 comments they received from Queens residents,” said Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein. “The New Draft Plan, while still imperfect, makes a number of common sense improvements from the last proposal. I encourage Northeast Queens residents to familiarize themselves with the new proposal and participate in forthcoming workshops with the MTA to provide valuable feedback. Through continued partnership with the community, I am hopeful that MTA can finalize a bus network redesign that provides faster and more expansive bus service to Northeast Queens riders."
“Queens riders have much to be optimistic about with the new draft Queens Bus Network Redesign plan unveiled today,” said Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) and Andrew Albert, Chair of the New York City Transit Riders Council (NYCTRC) and MTA Board Member. “The MTA clearly took into account the concerns and feedback of riders after the previous plan, and after going back to the drawing board, the new plan will help make buses faster, more reliable, and more frequent.”
Learn More and Submit Your Feedback
Informal on-street engagements will begin this week at key locations throughout the borough, including busy bus hubs. Transit employees will have direct engagement with customers throughout Queens handing out informational pamphlets on the proposed changes.
Virtual public workshops will start on April 18 and will be held two times per week through the beginning of June. The list of all workshop dates is available on the project’s main webpage, along with a detailed presentation of the proposed redesign, full report of the New Draft Plan, and an interactive map that allows users to post comments directly on proposed bus routes and stops.
Customers are encouraged to learn more about the Queens Bus Network Redesign at any one of the MTA’s outreach events or via any of the online resources available and submit feedback through the online comment portal.
The Proposed Final Plan will be released after the New Draft Plan outreach process is complete and the community feedback received is reviewed to make any additional changes to the bus network. The Proposed Final Plan will be followed by another round of public outreach.