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Q52 & Q53 Become 16th & 17th Select Bus Service Routes

Faster bus service has arrived at Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards!

On Sunday, Nov. 12, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA Bus and the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) launched the 16th and 17th Select Bus Service (SBS) routes on the Q52/Q53. Customers at one of Central Queen’s busiest thoroughfares now have faster, more reliable service.

Woodhaven Boulevard, which becomes Cross Bay Boulevard in the Howard Beach area, is a major north-south thoroughfare in Queens that serves major residential and commercial areas. Currently, the corridor is served by the Q52 and Q53 Limited; Q11 and Q21 local; and BM5, QM15, QM16 and QM17 express bus routes, carrying a total of more than 31,000 people daily, many of whom use these routes to connect to the 7 SubwayA SubwayE SubwayF SubwayJ SubwayM SubwayR SubwayZ Subway subway lines, the Rockaway Park S Subway train shuttle, or the Long Island Rail Road’s Woodside Station. An average of 20,000 weekday customers rely on the Q52/Q53 Limited routes, which spans approximately 14 miles connecting Woodside and the Rockaways via residential neighborhoods such as Rego Park, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Park and Arverne.

Bus service on this corridor has often been slowed by congestion and a street layout that makes bus stops difficult to reach for residents. In Rego Park and Woodhaven, the buses serve major commercial destinations including the Queens Center Mall, Elmhurst Hospital Center, as well as recreational destinations including Forest Park, The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and Rockaway Beach. In an effort to speed bus travel times and to improve safety for customers and pedestrians in such densely populated areas, MTA Bus and NYCDOT are working together to implement pedestrian and vehicle safety measures such as constructing bus stop islands and “bus bulbs” which extend sidewalks to meet bus lanes, moving stops to make spacing predictable, and installing bus lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard.

As part of the process to introduce Select Bus Service to the corridor and to implement street changes, MTA Bus and NYCDOT participated in or hosted more than 20 community meetings and public workshops to solicit public feedback. A Community Advisory Committee comprising elected officials, community boards and various stakeholders was also convened to provide guidance for the design and implementation of Select Bus Service.

“Select Bus Service is the future of bus service in New York City and has proven to provide faster and more reliable service to thousands of customers who take those buses daily,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota. “Not only do our SBS customers benefit from speedier rides but they also enjoy some of the newest buses in our fleet. We look forward to working with the communities involved and NYCDOT to see traffic improvement projects along the Q52/Q53 route that will help make Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards safer and more efficient corridors.”

The Q52/Q53 SBS supplements the many existing local bus routes on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards by offering customers a ride faster than the existing limited bus service, thanks to improved bus stop spacing and several features that are unique to Select Bus Service. These features include off-board fare payment at SBS fare machines, which allows customers to pay fares before boarding at any of three doors on the buses. As a result, customers no longer have to wait to insert their MetroCards or cash at the bus fare box. The SBS fleet features the MTA’s newest, specially branded, articulated buses that feature distinctive SBS signage to differentiate them from local bus service. Traffic signal priority technology, which has proven to speed bus travel on other SBS routes, will be installed on the Woodhaven/Cross Bay Boulevard corridor in the coming years. Customers also will benefit from new wayfinding signs at many SBS stops that show real-time bus arrival information. Altogether, these features have proven to decrease travel times for customers on other SBS routes by as much as 20 percent while attracting new ridership by 10 percent.

The push to bring Select Bus Service to more routes across the city is part of the MTA and NYCDOT’s broader efforts to improve bus service and attract new ridership. The MTA is in the process of upgrading its bus fleet with higher capacity buses, advanced operational technology such as traffic signal priority and pedestrian and collision safety warning systems, upgraded security systems and modern customer amenities such as digital information screens, USB charging ports and Wi-Fi. More information on Select Bus Service is available on the MTA website.

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