Sept. 10, By Christian Murray
The MTA bus line that goes along Vernon Blvd., makes its way past Socrates Sculpture Park and goes deep into Astoria has undergone some improvement.
Since Monday, the Q103 bus line has increased its frequency of service between Long Island City and Astoria. The MTA has increased the number of buses that make the trip on a daily basis from 25 to 30.
The added service is concentrated during the morning rush hour, when buses will come every 15 minutes—as opposed to every 20 minutes before the service upgrade.
The service will start earlier and end later. The first bus will run at 5:40 am instead of 6:10 am and the last bus will be at 7:50 pm instead of 7:18pm.
However, the Q103 still does not have late night or weekend service.
“We are fighting to have it up and running on weekends but we see the changes as a step in the right direction,” said Lauren Houston, a member of the Riders Alliance who lives in Astoria.
“As Long Island City welcomes new residents, visitors and businesses, these linkages have become increasingly important,” said Dana Frankel, district services manager at the Long Island City Partnership.
These bus improvements follow months of advocacy from State Senator Gianaris and members of the Riders Alliance.
In early March through May of this year, Riders Alliance members surveyed bus riders to identify the problems Q103 riders were experiencing.
Riders identified frequency and reliability as their greatest concerns. The Riders Alliance then wrote to the MTA requesting improved bus service, and followed up by asking riders to sign a petition calling on the MTA to improve service.
Gianaris thanked the MTA for the upgrades, although he said the service needs to keep pace with Western Queens’ growth rate. “We need to make sure public transportation keeps up,” he said.
Bobby Preti, Riders Alliance member and Astoria bus rider, said, “Knowing that my bus will come more often… is a welcome change.”