Douglaston, NY – Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) joined New York State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) to call for increased bus service to Douglaston. Currently, there are too few bus stops in the neighborhood and infrequent service to the existing bus stops. Rep. Israel called for an increase in federal funding to build more bus stops and buy more buses to service them. Assemblywoman Rozic called for an increase in state funding to operate new bus lines – both local and express. 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 of available data.
Rep. Israel said, “Residents in Douglaston deserve access to bus stops and buses servicing their community. As a growing number of residents take public transportation, it only makes sense to make sure we are meeting the growing demand. That’s why I’m standing with Assemblywoman Rozic today to call for more federal funding for bus stops and buses – a worthwhile investment that will help our community and protect our environment.”
“Subjecting commuters to a two fare zone is not fair for the working and middle class families of Douglaston,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “Eastern Queens – particularly Douglaston – remains a transit desert despite ever increasing public ridership. 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. I join Congressman Israel and my colleagues in government calling for an increase in express and local bus service – enough is enough.”
New York State Senator Tony Avella said, “I think it is imperative that the MTA and the State increase funding for bus services to Douglaston and Queens residents. For all too long, Queens has been undeserved by mass transit. In light of recently extreme cold weather it is all the more important that residents and seniors have access to reliable expanded bus service.”
Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) said, “Northeast Queens residents, including those in Douglaston, are not directly serviced by subway lines. Therefore, it is imperative that the MTA provide our community with local and express bus routes that operate on a frequent basis, with stops throughout Queens and Manhattan. I would like to thank Congressman Israel for fighting for federal funding so that our constituents are provided with improved public transportation services.”
“The community of Eastern Queens live in a transit desert. Therefore, increasing both local and express bus lines will provide a much needed service to its commuters,” said Council Member Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).
“We share the concerns of the bus riders that Congressman Israel and Assemblywoman Rozic serve,” said Jason Chin-Fatt, field organizer, Straphangers Campaign. “Douglaston bus riders are far from the subways and want more rapid transit to options. We are heartened by the inclusion of much speedier plans for bus transit that the NYC DOT has drawn up as a part of their Bus Rapid Transit Phase II Future Corridors. This plan includes a corridor that could serve the residents of Douglaston offering much faster bus commutes to and from Manhattan.”
“With public transit options already so limited, and commutes so long, Douglaston bus riders need more and better service,” said Jess Nizar, Senior Organizer at the Riders Alliance. “We support Congressman Israel and Assemblymember Rozic in their fight for improved bus service for Eastern Queens, and we stand together in seeking the additional public funding needed to make it happen."
Rep. 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, rehabilitate and purchase buses, vans, and related equipment, and to construct bus-related facilities like bus stops. Assemblywoman Rozic called 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.
In addition to the benefit of convenience, increasing the availability and use of public transportation has a positive impact on the environment. According to the American Public Transportation Association, Americans living in areas served by public transportation save 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel annually because of congestion reduction. And for every mile traveled on public transit, riders produce 95 percent less carbon dioxide than driving.