“They’re going to have Queens bus drivers that used to do the QM2 and the 20 work express bus routes out of the Bronx,” said Fadil. “So they’re going to have to do an express bus route to the Bronx and then come back to Queens to the bus depot.
“This is a plan that’s going to add overtime, which all factors into additional costs, which are wasteful and could be used to benefit the riders,” he said.
It was through his local bus drivers and union representatives that Fadil first heard about the MTA’s plan to relocate storage of some buses used onthe QM2 and QM20 routes that service Queens.
According to a representative of State Senator Jeff Klein, who represents the Bronx, the MTA has told his office that the depot relocation will not adversely affect riders, and plans are in place to monitor the situation to make sure the MTA lives up to its word.
Michael Yon, who was on site representing Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens, was concerned with the MTA’s lack of communication about the impending bus depot changes.
“You need to have some kind of negotiation, or an understanding of what their stances are,” said Yon. “It shouldn’t be just one side, we should both be at the table talking about the issue. That’s what we need.”
Yon also said that his office is still waiting on a reply from the MTA to their concerns.
“There are a lot of transportation needs in Flushing, and this is one of them, so a response from the MTA would be very nice,” said Yon. “We sent them a bunch of letters.”
Fadil has so far been able to gather 1,600 signatures on two separate petitions calling for schedule improvements and the addition of Lower Manhattan service on the affected Queensroutes.
“A large share of the ridership has petitioned to have a downtown bus from this neighborhood, and to get schedule improvements on the QM2 and the QM20, which would be a much more productive use of taxpayer money than to have our buses be based out of the Bronx and have buses in the Bronx be based out of Queens at the College Point Depot,” said Fadil.
Mary Behrens, a resident of Mitchell Gardens Co-op in Flushing, said that she is concerned about service interruptions resulting from adverse weather conditions.
“If it’s snowing, if there’s an accident, they’re not going to make it across the bridge, so we’re going to be missing buses in the morning that are already overcrowded, and then you’re not going to have any seats at all,” she said.
“It’s going to severely impact the people who are trying to get into the city for work,” she added. “Also, on the bridges, when there are high winds, they don’t let high-profile vehicles across. Again, the buses aren’t going to be able to cross.”
Fellow Flushing resident Joan Tepper seconded Behrens’ worries.
“In the cold weather last night, I waited. It was miserable out,” said Tepper. “Three number twos came, but no 20 came. Finally a 20 showed up and it was packed. It doesn’t even make any sense. They are supposed to be enhancing the ride, instead they’re making it like a nightmare.”
Celeste Spiridigliozzi, who commutes to Manhattan daily for her job from Clearview Gardens, felt that the move is counterproductive to the intent of public transportation in the city.
“We’re supposed to be using public transportation to save gas and to be able to get into the city efficiently,” she said. “If it’s going to take me two-and-a-half hours to get to work, I may lose my job.”