Douglaston is now served by five major bus routes, and four of those five routes have seen an increase in ridership over the last two years.
“Residents in Douglaston deserve access to bus stops and buses servicing their community,” said said Congressman Steve Israel Monday morning at the intersection of 65th Avenue and Douglaston Parkway. “As a growing number of residents take public transportation, it only makes sense to make sure we are meeting the growing demand.”
Israel called for an increase in funding for the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) Bus and Bus Facilities Formula Grant. The grant provides funding for capital projects to replace and rehabilitate buses and to construct bus-related facilities.
“Washington, D.C. needs to do their job,” he said.
According to the elected officials, there are very few bus stops in Douglaston and infrequent service to the existing bus stops. Assemblywoman Nily Rozic stressed this is not just a Douglaston issue, but a Queens-wide dilemma.
“We do not have enough mass transit,” she said. “We deserve our fair share of city service, state service and federal service.”
Rozic asked for an increase in operational funds for both local and express buses, and a full line review of the express buses in Douglaston, specifically the QM5 and QM8.
Furthermore, she said it’s imperative to receive an increase in state funding to operate the new bus lines, both local and express.
“Subjecting commuters to a two-fare zone is not fair for the working and middle-class families of Douglaston,” Rozic said. “Local residents using mass transit must catch the express bus before a certain hour, or they risk having to transfer between local buses, express buses, the LIRR and the subway to get to work.”
Jason Chin-Fatt, a field organizer for the Straphangers Campaign, said the problem needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
“We share the concerns of the bus riders that Congressman Israel and Assemblywoman Rozic serve,” he said. “Douglaston bus riders are far from the subways and want more rapid transit options.”
Jess Nizar, senior organizer at the Riders Alliance, echoed Chin-Fatt’s sentiments.
“With public transit options already so limited, and commutes so long, Douglaston bus riders need more and better service,” Nizar said.