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

Posted by BusMgr on Sat Sep 11 16:16:21 2021, in response to Re: Q66 Bus Stops Discontinued Every 4 Blocks Or So., posted by Osmosis Jones on Sat Sep 11 14:09:42 2021.

Actually, no, the Rikers Island service is a separate issue (although it would have some effect in adding some demand to the 21st Street-Qeensbridge station). In fact, the reasoning behind the Q101R is a bit more troubling. Some time after the bridge to Rikers Island was opened in 1966, service on the Q101 was extended over the bridge. Operationally and geographically it made sense. But demographics required a change to the route structure. Astoria was middle class and mostly white, and prior to the extension to Rikers Island, the passengers on the Q101 largely reflected those demographics. However, visitors to Rikers Island largely reflected the demographics of those individuals incarcerated on the island, which were, for the most part, other than middle class and white. Conflicts then arose between the residents of Astoria who rode the Q101 and those from outside Astoria who were making visits to Rikers Island. Astoria residents and their political representatives did not want "those" people riding on "Astoria's" buses. The political pressure was sufficient to cause Steinway Transit Corp., the operator of the Q101, to institute a policy of "separate but equal" service on route Q101. (Even during overnight periods, there was "equal" sparsely-used hourly service for both the local and Rikers Island routes.) Local service would cater to Astoria residents, without crossing the bridge to Rikers Island, while express service would bypass the local stops of Astoria and serve Rikers Island. In this manner, the middle class white residents of Astoria would not have to intermingle with those of other neighborhoods, merely passing through on their way to Rikers Island, most of whom were of different economic backgrounds and other races. It was a solution that satisfied at least the politically-powerful people of Astoria, and even if objectionable to those visiting Rikers Island, the visitors did not possess much political influence or power. MTA Bus Company continues operating this historically "separate but equal" bus service on route Q101R, though with the service having previously been cut back from Manhattan to its present operation only with Queens, and its removal from Steinway Street to 21st Street, it is no longer so "equal." Were a claim of unlawful discrimination to be brought against MTA Bus Company, it would probably defend on the ground that a separate route that provided "premium" express service does not constitute discrimination, and any differences in the demographics of Q101 and Q101R passengers is benign and not the result of intentional discrimination, notwithstanding the history of the route.

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