Bx23 and Q50 buses

  (Redirected from Q50 (New York City bus))

The Bx23 and Q50 bus routes constitute a public transit corridor in New York City, running from the Flushing neighborhood in Queens to the Pelham Bay and Co-op City neighborhoods in the Bronx. The Bx23 provides local service in Pelham Bay and Co-op City, while the Q50 provides limited-stop service between Co-op City and subway hubs in Pelham Bay and Flushing. Both routes are city-operated under the MTA Bus Company brand of MTA Regional Bus Operations, and are the only two local routes in the Bronx to operate under the MTA Bus brand, rather than under the MaBSOTA brand that all other Bronx bus routes operate under.

bx23
q50
Pelham Bay−Co-op City
Flushing–Bronx
Former QBx1
A Q50 Limited bus at an intersection in Co−Op City, Bronx
Overview
SystemMTA Regional Bus Operations
OperatorMTA Bus Company
GarageEastchester Depot[1]
VehicleOrion VII NG HEV
Began serviceSeptember 12, 2010 (Bx23 & Q50)[2]: 4 [3][4][5]
Route
LocaleBronx; Queens
StartQ50: Flushing, Queens – 39th Avenue / Main Street station
Bx23: Pelham Bay, Bronx – Pelham Bay Park station
ViaCo-op City Boulevard
Q50: Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx–Whitestone Bridge
EndCo-op City, Bronx
Bx23: Via Sections 1-2-3-4-5 or 5-4-3-2-1,[a] then returns to Pelham Bay
Q50: Section 5[a] – Earhart Lane and Erskine Place (Rush Hours)
  • Q50 off-peak terminates at Pelham Bay Park station
LengthQ50: 12.2 miles (19.6 km)
Bx23: 6.3 miles (10.1 km)
Service
OperatesAll times except late nights[6][7]
Annual patronageQ50: 809,766 (2020)[8]
Bx23: 502,142 (2020)[8]
TransfersYes
TimetableBx23 Q50
← Bx22
Q49
 {{{system_nav}}}  Bx24
Q52 →

The two routes are the successor to the QBx1 route, privately operated by the Queens Surface Corporation until 2005, when the route was taken over by the MTA. This route ran several confusing service patterns between Co-op City and Pelham Bay, with only select runs continuing to Flushing. In September 2010, the QBx1 was split into the Bx23 and Q50 to simplify service in the Bronx, and provide full-time service between Queens and the Bronx.

Route description and serviceEdit

Former QBx1Edit

Bx23 buses running in 5-4-3-2-1 (top) and 1-2-3-4-5 (bottom) service patterns at adjacent stops near the Pelham Bay Park station

The original QBx1 service began at the Flushing–Main Street subway station in Downtown Flushing, Queens (within a section of Flushing also known as Flushing Chinatown). It ran north on Main Street to Northern Boulevard, then east to Linden Place. It then ran north on Linden Place to the Whitestone Expressway, sharing the street with the Q25 and Q34. The QBx1 proceeded north on the Whitestone Expressway service road and then onto the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge crossing into the Bronx, and then onto the Hutchinson River Parkway service road to Lafayette Avenue. This portion of the route across the bridge to Bruckner Boulevard was shared with the Q44, the only other local bus between the Bronx and Queens. At the Bruckner Interchange, the QBx1 turned onto Bruckner Boulevard (the Bruckner Expressway service road), traveling east then north to the Pelham Bay Park subway station. This section is shared with the Bx5. Only selected buses ran between Flushing and Pelham Bay; most QBx1 runs remained in the Bronx.[2]: 11, 14 [3][9][10]

North of Pelham Bay Park, the QBx1 ran several different services to different parts of Co-op City. The full route circumscribed the entire development, running (clockwise) north along the New England Thruway service road to Bartow Avenue (near the current Bay Plaza Shopping Center), through Section 1, via the Dreiser Loop, through Sections 2 and 3, via the Asch Loop in Section 4, and through Section 5 before returning to Pelham Bay. This pattern operated clockwise (sections 1-2-3-4-5) or counterclockwise (sections 5-4-3-2-1).[a] The full Flushing−Co-op City service either ran clockwise from Flushing or counterclockwise to Flushing.[2]: 11, 14 [9][10]

The QBx1 operated a total of ten service patterns, varying on the time of day.[2]: 5  During weekday off-peak hours and weekends, the route operated either between Flushing and all five sections of Co-op City, or as a circulatory shuttle service between Pelham Bay and the five sections. During the AM peak a total of five service patterns were used. The three primary AM patterns were Pelham Bay to Bellamy Loop, serving Section 3 via sections 1-2-3; Pelham Bay to Asch Loop, serving Section 4 only; and Pelham Bay running clockwise via Bartow Avenue, serving Sections 4 and 5 before returning to Pelham Bay. The intermittent service to and from Flushing ran via the Bellamy Loop route. The three PM peak hour services were Flushing to Pelham Bay and Bellamy Loop; Pelham Bay to Bellamy Loop; and Pelham Bay running counterclockwise to Sections 5 and 4, Asch Loop, and back to Pelham Bay.[a][2]: 5 [9][10] While this structure provided direct service to individual sections of Co-op City, the structure was considered confusing and inconvenient due to the many different service patterns under one route designation, and the lack of service between Queens and the Bronx.[2]: 5 [3][10]

The following table shows the variants of the QBx1:[2]: 5 [9][10]

Variant Flushing Pelham Bay Park (CW) Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Pelham Bay Park (CCW)
Off-peak  
Off-peak  
AM peak  
AM peak   Skipped  
AM peak Skipped
AM peak   Skipped  
AM peak  
PM peak   Skipped  
PM peak  
PM peak Skipped ← 

Current bus serviceEdit

 
A now-retired Orion V bus on Q50 service near the Main Street station in Downtown Flushing

The Bx23 constitutes a simplified version of the former QBx1 route between Pelham Bay Park and Co-op City, running either clockwise (1-2-3-4-5) or counterclockwise (5-4-3-2-1) before returning to Pelham Bay.[6][11] The Q50, meanwhile, runs primarily between Flushing and Pelham Bay Park; there is no direct Co-op City-to-Queens service except during rush hours.[12] During rush hours, Q50 buses are extended north to Erskine Place and Earhart Lane in Section 5, traveling clockwise in Co-op City northbound and counterclockwise southbound. The Q50 employs limited-stop service, making fewer stops in Queens and bypassing the individual loops of Co-op City served by the Bx23.[7][13] The routes run at all times except late nights;[6][7] at these times, Co-op City service is replaced by the Bx28.[14][15]

At Pelham Bay Park, both directions of Bx23 and Q50 service share three adjacent bus stops on the southbound Bruckner Boulevard to the south of the subway station. The southernmost stop at the intersection of Bruckner and Amendola Place is used by Flushing-bound Q50 service. The middle stop is used by all clockwise Co-Op City service (Q50 buses to Section 5 and Bx23 buses via 1-2-3-4-5). The northernmost stop is used by Bx23 buses operating the counterclockwise loop. Because of this setup, Bronx-bound Q50 buses must U-turn at Westchester Avenue to stop at Pelham Bay, then U-turn again towards Co-op City.[11][13]

Prior to 2014, the Bx23 employed additional service patterns during rush hours, similar to its predecessor route. Buses would travel via 1-2-3-4 (AM rush) or 4-3-2-1 (PM rush) and return to Pelham Bay, or directly to Section 5 via Bartow Avenue/Bay Plaza/Section 4 (clockwise AM; counterclockwise PM) and return to Pelham Bay. This was eliminated to maintain one consistent service pattern at all times, and allow service between all sections of Co-op City at all times.[2]: 11–12 [16]

The Bx23 and Q50 are two of the several local bus routes to serve Co-op City, which is heavily dependent on bus service. They are among five routes (along with the Bx5 on weekends, Bx12 SBS, and Bx29) to feed into Pelham Bay Park station from the neighborhood, and the only two to serve all five sections of the development (except for the late night Bx28 service).[2]: 10–11 [15]

HistoryEdit

Two former Queens Surface buses on the QBx1 under MTA operations before (left) and after (right) repainting into MTA colors. Both buses have since been retired.

The QBx1 was in operation since at least the mid-1960s under the Queens Transit Corporation, labeled the "Bx1" on Queens bus maps.[17] The route originally operated between Flushing and Pelham Bay Park.[18] By 1968, the QBx1 was extended to Co-op City.[19] The bus company would become Queens-Steinway Transit Corporation in 1986, and Queens Surface Corporation in 1988.[20]

On February 27, 2005, the MTA Bus Company took over the operations of the Queens Surface routes as part of the city's takeover of all the remaining privately operated bus routes.[21][22]

In 2009, ten buses from the Eastchester Depot near Co-op City (the former New York Bus Service depot) began to operate on QBx1 service.[23] Two additional stops in the Bronx were added to the route in June 2010, at Baisley Avenue (southbound) and Kearny Avenue (northbound) both at Bruckner Boulevard, to connect with a pedestrian overpass to the Country Club neighborhood.[24]

QBx1 splitEdit

On September 12, 2010, the QBx1 was split into the Q50 Limited and Bx23 routes, simplifying the many service patterns of the former QBx1 route, but eliminating direct service between Pelham Bay and the individual sections of Co-op City.[2]: 4 [3][4][5] In addition, the changes were made in conjunction with controversial cuts in service to other Co-op City routes during the MTA's 2010 budget crisis,[25] and received negative input from the community.[2]: 4 [4][26][27]

On June 29, 2014, the rush hour service pattern of the Bx23 was eliminated, with the off-peak pattern going into effect at all times. In addition, a stop on the Bx23 was added at Adler Place in the Asch Loop. A stop for the Q50 was also added outside the Dreiser Loop.[28][29] These changes were the result of a study of bus routes in Co-op City.[2]: 8 [26]

Bus redesignsEdit

As part of the MTA's 2017 Fast Forward Plan to speed up mass transit service, a draft plan for a reorganization of Bronx bus routes was proposed in draft format in June 2019, with a final version published in October 2019. The Bronx draft plan called for the Bx23 to be the sole route serving Co-op City; many of the draft proposals were not included in the final version. These changes were set to take effect in mid-2020.[30][31] The final Bronx bus plan did not modify the Bx23's routing or stop locations, though the frequency of the route was to be increased.[32]: 91  Additionally, in December 2019, the MTA released a draft redesign of the Queens bus network.[33][34] As part of the Queens redesign, the Q50 would have become the QT50, extended to LaGuardia Airport; the northern section in Co-op City would have been truncated.[35]

Both redesigns were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City in 2020.[36][37] The original Queens draft plan was dropped due to negative feedback,[38] while the implementation of the Bronx redesign was postponed to mid-2022.[39][40] A revised Queens draft plan was released in March 2022.[41] The plan for the Q50 is similar to that in the 2019 redesign and would still serve LaGuardia Airport.[42] The Bronx bus redesign took effect on June 26, 2022;[43][44] as part of the Bronx redesign, the Q50 only served Co-op City during rush hours, terminating at Pelham Bay Park during all other times.[12]

Bike racksEdit

 
Bike racks installed on a Q50 bus in Flushing in 2018.

In April 1994, bike racks were installed onto QBx1 buses to carry bicycles over the Whitestone Bridge. This was the first bike-on-bus program in the city.[45] The service was offered on a seasonal basis (April to September), with pick-up/drop-off points at 20th Avenue in Whitestone, Queens and Lafayette Avenue near Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.[46] However, the bike-on-bus program was eliminated on February 27, 2005, the same day as the MTA takeover.[47]

In 2017, it was announced that bike racks would be installed on the fronts of Bx23 and Q50 buses by spring 2018. Each rack, mounted on the front of each bus, would be able to carry two bicycles.[48][49] This was part of the MTA's ongoing pilot program to mount bike racks on several bus routes.[49] In September 2015, the S53 and S93 routes in Staten Island had been the first routes to receive the racks.[3][50] The expanded program restored bike racks on the Flushing to Co-op City bus corridor for the first time since 2005.[49] On July 1, 2018, bike rack service was inaugurated on the Bx23 and Q50 routes.[51]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d The sections are:[2]: A III 
    • Section 1 is the northwestern section, north of Harry Truman High School.
    • Section 2 is the northeastern section, east of Harry Truman High School.
    • Section 3 is the western section, west of Bartow Mall Shopping Center.
    • Section 4 is the eastern section, east of Bartow Mall Shopping Center.
    • Section 5 is the southeastern section, east and south of the Hutchinson River Parkway.

ReferencesEdit

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  3. ^ a b c d e "Northeast Queens Bus Study" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. September 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 19, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2015. Cite error: The named reference "MTA-NEQnsBusStudy-Sept2015" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
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  7. ^ a b c MTA Regional Bus Operations. "Q50 bus schedule".
  8. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". mta.info. August 28, 2011. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
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External linksEdit

Route map:

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