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Re: Q66 Bus Stops Discontinued Every 4 Blocks Or So.

Posted by BusMgr on Fri Sep 10 14:36:36 2021, in response to Re: Q66 Bus Stops Discontinued Every 4 Blocks Or So., posted by Osmosis Jones on Fri Sep 10 00:52:44 2021.

The reason that route Q66 connects with the subway at 21st Street-Queensbridge is that the station, when first opened, was a dead-end, and little subway patronage was expected despite the huge investment made for the subway and East River tunnel built. So many plans were considered to have buses serve the new station, and compel ridership that would not have otherwise materialized. Some proposals, such as terminating all Queens express buses at the station, with passengers transferring to the subway for Manhattan points, were rightly rejected. But the two significant bus plans actually implemented were the establishment of a LaGuardia express bus service, route Q57 (but marketed as route "QT," or "Quick Trip," operated by Two Borough Express, Inc. (an affiliate of Triboro Coach Corp.); and the extension of Q66 local route, operated by Queens Surface Corp., from its terminus at 51st Street to serve the new station. The NYCTA used its influence to persuade the Board of Estimate (Bureau of Franchises) to authorize both new services, and to persuade the NYCDOT to subsidize the Q66 extension (initially with some limited NYCTA support). A new terminus was established at Queens Plaza South and 22nd Street. While the terminus should have been established Queens Plaza South at 28th Street, and was pursued by NYCDOT transit operations planning, the NYCDOT refused to spend any more on the service extension than what was minimally required to serve the new station, despite good transit planning practices and the greater potential for patronage in the heart of Queens Plaza. Service could be provided as far as 22nd Street, because that was part of the turn-around loop, though the operator, Queens Surface Corp., did not do a good job in managing this terminus, and many bus drivers made the intersection of 21st Street and 41st Avenue the unofficial first and last stops of the route. Eventually, under MTA Bus Company management, implemented what NYCDOT staff had proposed, and service was extended the few blocks to Queens Plaza South at 28th Street (at de minimus cost).

Further adding to the Q66 problems is that it makes no stops on 21st Street between 35th Avenue and 41st Avenue. This was done in order to protect the fare revenue of route Q19A (now designated route Q69)from encroachment by extended route Q66, and was justified publicly by promoting the "faster" trip provided to the subway at 21st Street-Queensbridge station through this "express" operation. Neither reason was good because bother the Q19A and Q66 was fully-subsidized by the city, through the NYCDOT, and all revenue shortfalls were made up from the same city funds; and with 21st Street as wide as it is, and with few substantial bus stops between 31th Avenue and 41st Avenue, the time savings by operating "express" on 21st Street was inconsequential, especially given the overall length of route Q66.

At one time streetcars did operate on Northern Boulevard (and Jackson Avenue) west of 51st Street, all the way to the 34th Street ferry terminal at the foot of Borden Avenue. In fact, the focus of the service was the western end, at the ferry terminal, and extended eastward towards Flushing. But because of the underlying ownership of the line between two distinct companies, the service was later cut at 51st Street (the location of the car house and the border of the former City of Long Island City), with passengers having to change cars at that location. Eventually, the western part of the route diminished in patronage and importance. Nonetheless, through its corporate existence (up until about fifteen years ago), Queens Surface Corp. continued to operate a single daily "franchise trip" along the western portion of Northern Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, between 51st Street and Vernon Boulevard, along what was designated as route Q100. With patronage at 21st Street-Queensbridge station no longer being critical (the subway having since been connected with the Queens Boulevard line at 41st Avenue and Northern Boulevard), there is no longer good reason for its operation along 35th Avenue, other than the more recent build-up of some commerce on that avenue between Steinway Street and 35th Street. Yet much more development has occurred at Queensborough Plaza and Court Square, such that restoration of the original route, along the length of Northern Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, to the end of Borden Avenue, is warranted. There is no need for Q66 service on 21st Street, and tho only real question to answer is whether bus service should be provided at all along 35th Avenue between 21st Street and Northern Boulevard.


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