Q70 (New York City bus)
The Q70 Select Bus Service bus route constitutes a public transit line in Queens, New York City, United States, running primarily along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It runs between the 61st Street–Woodside station—with transfers to the New York City Subway and Long Island Rail Road—and Terminals B, C, and D at LaGuardia Airport, with one intermediate stop at the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street subway station. This route is operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations under the MTA Bus Company brand.
A terminated Q70 SBS laying over in Woodside
|System||MTA Regional Bus Operations|
|Operator||MTA Bus Company|
|Vehicle||New Flyer XD40 Xcelsior|
|Livery||Select Bus Service / LaGuardia Link|
|Began service||September 8, 2013 (Q70 limited-stop service)|
September 25, 2016 (Q70 SBS)
|Communities served||Woodside, Jackson Heights|
|Start||Woodside – 61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue/ 61st Street–Woodside subway ( trains) and Woodside LIRR station|
|Via||Roosevelt Avenue, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Grand Central Parkway|
|End||LaGuardia Airport – Central Terminals|
|Length||4.5 miles (7.2 km)|
|Annual patronage||1,578,240 (2017)|
The route was created on September 8, 2013, as a limited-stop route. The Q70 Limited bus was part of a program to create faster bus service between Woodside, Jackson Heights, and LaGuardia Airport. On September 25, 2016, it became a Select Bus Service route with the branding LaGuardia Link.
Route description and serviceEdit
The Q70 starts in Woodside at 61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue, where a connection is available to the Long Island Rail Road at its Woodside station, and a transfer is available to the IRT Flushing Line (7 and <7> trains) at 61st Street–Woodside. The route continues via Roosevelt Avenue until it reaches 74th Street at the junction of Woodside, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. Here, a transfer is available to the Flushing Line (7 train) and IND Queens Boulevard Line (E, F, M, and R trains) at Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street station; the Jackson Heights stop is the most heavily used stop on the route. The route then travels non-stop, running via Broadway before turning onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway towards LaGuardia Airport. The Q70 stops at the "Central Terminals", first stopping at Terminal B, then looping around to Terminal D and Terminal C, in that order.[a] The route then loops through the airport roadway and continues back to Jackson Heights and Woodside.
|Southbound terminus, Northbound station||LIRR: City Terminal Zone at Woodside|
MTA Bus: Q18, Q53 SBS
NYC Bus: Q32
NYC Subway: trains at 61st Street–Woodside
|Victor A. Moore Bus Terminal
(Roosevelt Avenue and 74th Street)
|Bidirectional||MTA Bus: Q33, Q47, Q49, Q53 SBS|
NYC Bus: Q32
NYC Subway: trains at Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street
|Terminal B||Airport stop||MTA Bus: Q72 |
NYC Bus: Q48, M60 SBS
LGA Shuttle Bus
Implementation of limited serviceEdit
In 2009, under the Phase II of the city's Select Bus Service (SBS) program, faster bus service to LaGuardia Airport was recommended as a primary need. Under the LaGuardia Airport Access Alternatives Analysis study, another SBS study which was conducted by NYCDOT in partnership with MTA Bus, New York City Transit, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2011–2012, it was recommended that a bus route should connect the central terminals of LaGuardia and transit hubs in Jackson Heights and Woodside. At these transit hubs, transfers could be made to the subway, Long Island Rail Road and buses from the new connector route. The reason for the creation of the study was the slow bus service on the M60, Q33, Q47, Q48, and Q72, which all went to LaGuardia Airport. At the time, the airport was the New York area's only large airport without any rapid transit connections to Manhattan.
The Q70 limited-stop bus between Woodside and LaGuardia Airport via the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street station was implemented on September 8, 2013, replacing the portion of the Q33 local bus that went to LaGuardia Airport. The Q33 was subsequently cut back to 95th Street and Ditmars Boulevard.
In April 2016, in response to higher ridership, service on the Q70 was increased to run every 8 minutes instead of every 12 minutes during midday and PM peak hours. Weekend service began running every 10 minutes, and service during overnight hours was increased to run every 20 minutes from every 30 minutes.
Conversion to Select Bus ServiceEdit
Although the Q70 was intended as a bus rapid transit project, for its first three years of service it was not branded as Select Bus Service (SBS) and did not employ most SBS elements, lacking ticket machines, all-door boarding, branded buses, and dedicated bus lanes. The route was implemented as a limited-stop route instead, because there were regulatory issues preventing SBS implementation. It was also thought that in the interim, the combination of highway use and widely spaced stops would provide sufficient benefits.
The Q70 is one of three SBS routes that were planned under the LaGuardia Alternatives Analysis. The M60 became an SBS route on May 25, 2014, and the Bx41 SBS route had been planned to be extended to LaGuardia Airport under the LaGuardia Alternatives Analysis. However, the Bx41 extension has yet to be implemented due to a lack of funding. According to the city government, the three routes "would provide "shorter term, lower cost transit improvements" for LaGuardia Airport.
Compared to the Q33 route between Jackson Heights and LaGuardia, it takes the Q70 40% less time to get to LaGuardia. The Q33 runs on local residential and commercial streets, which are frequently congested, resulting in slower service. The change, however, took direct airport service away from airport employees who live along the Q33 route in Jackson Heights, although MTA studies indicated that only a small portion of LaGuardia-bound passengers came from these areas. However, since its implementation in September 2013, daily ridership on the Q70 has more than doubled from 2,100 riders to 4,300 riders.
In November 2015, the Riders Alliance, an advocacy group for transit riders, issued a report suggesting that the Q70 be rebranded as the LaGuardia Subway Shuttle with no fares. The report mentioned that 85% of passengers using the Q70 already transferred to and from the subway, meaning that the bus brings no new revenue to the MTA. The group advocated for the rebranding of the route in conjunction with improved signage advertising for the route. Additional critiques made by the group are that the signage at LaGuardia for the Q70 is flawed and misleading, and that the bus stop locations on Roosevelt Avenue are not well marked. Increased service, bus running every 10 minutes during all times, countdown clocks and on-board announcements were all suggested by the group.
In December 2015, the MTA announced that the Q70 SBS would be implemented in September 2016, when it will be rebranded as the LaGuardia Link with the implementation of off-board payment of fares. This is similar as to what the Riders Alliance proposed, but the route would still require a free transfer or a regular fare. As opposed to other SBS routes, the Q70 will be wrapped in a teal blue scheme with silhouettes of clouds and airplanes. The buses will also have the text "LaGuardia Link" on the front, back, and both sides, in addition to the route emblems for five subway routes and the abbreviation "LIRR," which connect to the bus at Woodside–61st Street and at Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue. The rebranding should encourage more people to take public transportation when using the airport. The inside of the buses will have air traveler branded messaging.
The Q70 is the first SBS route for MTA Bus. Annual operating costs would increase by $870,000 with the Q70 becoming an SBS route. There is also the potential for traffic signal priority for the corridor on which the Q70 runs, which would speed up travel even further. The bus stop in Woodside will be moved to the east to share a bus stop with the Q53 SBS, and the LaGuardia Airport-bound stop in Jackson Heights will be relocated from its current location on 75th Street and Roosevelt Avenue into the 74th Street–Jackson Heights Intermodal Terminal (swapping stop locations with the Q47) to provide an easier transfer to the subway. A new marketing campaign is designed to raise awareness of the route, with print publications on certain airlines, an extensive social media campaign, in-flight Wi-Fi and video services, and with wall wraps in baggage claim areas in LaGuardia.
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