Q44 Select Bus Service, What It Means, and What It Could Be

Planned Q44 SBS Service and Stops (Source: DOT)

The Q44 and Current Plans

The current Q44 is one of the busiest routes in Queens and the city, linking 9,240,459 riders annually with Jamaica, Flushing, and the Bronx. In Queens, it runs through severely congested corridors such as Main St in Flushing, and Hillside Blvd, Sutphin Blvd, and Archer Av in Jamaica, while in the Bronx it makes all local stops. With the introduction of SBS, travel times will be slashed by using off-board fare payment, traffic signal retimings, and bus lanes in congested areas.

Q44 DelaysProposed Bus Lanes

Offset bus lanes in the most congested sections of road in Jamaica and Flushing (as is proposed for Main St, and hopefully the plan in Jamaica) would be a godsend and allow significantly improved bus flows if the bus lanes work as intended and are properly enforced. In this case, curbside lanes are not an acceptable alternative; in the sections where there will be bus lanes, there are often so many bus stops that the entire curb has no parking because it is all reserved for bus stops. Curbside lanes implemented in areas like this would effectively be useless, because buses coming up to occupied stops would have to pull out into general traffic to get around bypass stopped buses, rendering the bus lanes rather pointless.

Ultimately, the plans for new bus lanes are very welcome. However, they’re not the best plan, and they certainly don’t solve all the issues with traffic congestion in Jamaica and Flushing.

What the Jamaica-Flushing SBS Could’ve Been

Original plans did not call for the Q44 to be the only SBS link between Jamaica and Flushing. Originally, as seen in these images from previous study PDFs, the Q25 on Kissena and Parsons Blvds was also considered for SBS treatment in the beginning stages of the study.

Flushing-Jamaica Travel Speeds Original Flushing-Jamaica Plan

The Kissena Blvd/Parsons Blvd corridor is similarly very congested in both Jamaica and Flushing; due to the street layout of Downtown Flushing, nearly all bus routes heading from the southeast (the Q17, 25, 27, and 34) all have to merge onto Kissena Blvd and then Main St to get to Downtown Flushing. SBS treatments such as bus lanes, traffic signal priority, and prepayment would’ve helped traffic on not only the Q25, but these other routes.

To illustrate this point, here are the amount of buses entering Downtown Flushing and Jamaica on a weekday between 6-7PM:

Jamaica-Diagrams Flushing-Diagrams

Highlighted in these images is the path of the Q44:

Jamaica-Diagrams-Q44-only Flushing-Diagrams-Q44-only

As you can see, the Q44 shares its main stretches with a large number of bus routes. However, the lanes for the Q44 would not cover all of the busiest routes (in the case of Jamaica) or would only cover a short distance of the busiest routes (in the case of Flushing.)

Highlighted in the following set of images are the paths of the Q44, and the Q25:

Jamaica-Diagrams-Q44-Q25 Flushing-Diagrams-Q44-Q25

Existing Jamaica Bus LanesIn Jamaica, the impact of the additional Q25 bus lanes would be limited; Jamaica is already covered by a good deal of both offset and curbside lanes, as shown here in an image from DOT’s earlier Jamaica Bus study. However, it would provide bus lanes to a particularly segment of Parsons Blvd that hosts the Q110, Q111, Q112, Q113, and Q114, and would also provide bus lanes on a stretch of Sutphin Blvd that the Q44 does not serve.

In Flushing, the Q25 lanes would have a bigger impact. Most buses heading into Flushing from the south do so using the path of the Q25, from Kissena Blvd to Main St. Bus lanes on these routes would benefit the Q17, Q27, and to a lesser extent the Q65, as well as the Q25. So it is unfortunate that the Q25 seems to have been passed up for SBS improvements.

What to Do Next

Giving the Q44 SBS is good. Giving other busy routes into Jamaica and Flushing SBS service like the Q25, Q65, Q12, Q43, etc. would be even better. However, the limited nature of SBS improvements would probably only be good for a short period of time before Flushing and Jamaica would become congested again. The core of the issue is that all bus traffic in Flushing (and to a lesser extent, Jamaica) is largely funneled into a few roads that become very congested. The problem is particularly acute in Flushing, where nearly all traffic from the south heading further north than Roosevelt Av must merge onto Main St.

The only true way to solve these problems in the long term would be to both extend the subway network east, and to grade separate the busiest of the remaining bus routes. Currently, many routes from the south and east of Jamaica, and the north and east of Flushing, must go out of their way to reach the two subway hubs. Extensions of the subway, while certainly very expensive and very far in the future, would allow routes to be reconfigured in a more optimal manner so that routes would only go into Flushing and Jamaica when necessary. That being said, Flushing and Jamaica are also the two biggest commercial hubs in Eastern Queens, so even then there will still be significant bus traffic in the area.

This significant bus traffic would be best off grade separated; doing so would allow the freeing up of sidewalk space currently taken up by bus stops, and in addition would improve both surface and bus congestion. Ideally, either busway or light-rail tunnels (built to B Division subway standards for later conversion) would traverse the busiest roads in Jamaica and Flushing, with surface portals in less congested areas for diverging branches, similar to what is done in the Philadelphia and Boston streetcar systems. Such a busway system could also be configured to have turnstile-restricted fare control, thus allowing both all-door payment and potential in-station transfers to subway stations. These developments would reduce congestion and allow future growth in Eastern Queens.

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12 comments on “Q44 Select Bus Service, What It Means, and What It Could Be
  1. Fredrick Wells says:

    Lets see. The current run time is 95 minutes maximum and 80 minutes general on the Q44 route as a LIMITED-STOP SERVICE.

    If successful the Q44 would cover the route from Jamaica to The Bronx Zoo in only 60 minutes as a SELECT BUS SERVICE, reducing travel times by up to 35%.

    The concept of extending the route to Fordham Plaza may be looked at as the MTA does not want to exceed the 90 minute run time on bus routes, however there will be a major need for a SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE for that extension to where the run time will not exceed 75 minutes from Jamaica – something a Local Subway line would accomplish in 45 to 55 minutes direct route, and currently does in 80 to 90 minutes via (E) or (F) to Midtown Manhattan with transfer to (B) or (D).

    • Henry says:

      I’m not convinced of the need to bring Q44 service to Fordham. Nearly all the routes it would connect to at Fordham have routes with existing connections to the Q44, or connect to the Q44 themselves, so it’s not turning a lot of two-fare trips into one-fare trips. Some even have significantly easier trips via subway; why take the bus from Inwood to Flushing when the subway trip is a mere 68 minutes? Parsons/Archer to Fordham Plaza takes the same amount of time, and the Q44 would not be able to beat such travel times. I personally don’t believe that either Fordham Plaza or Fordham University are big enough destinations for Queens riders to justify an extension, either; if Queens riders wanted a Metro-North train, riding into Grand Central would be significantly faster, and Fordham University students are already well served by a connection to the Bx9 at West Farms Sq. There’s just not a lot of benefit for the cost and potential unreliability of such an extension.

      • Fredrick Wells says:

        In actuality, I am convinced that there would be a need for the Q44 to service Fordham Plaza mainly for the transfer to MetroNorth Railroad trains. This means that it would connect with both the LIRR and MetroNorth at each end of the route.
        Also, I have timed the runs and Fordham Plaza to Jamaica Center is accomplished in 95 minutes via the Bx22 with transfer to the Q44 (as current), provided that you are on point with your connections. To do the same trip via the Subway, you must (1) walk to Grand Concourse which would be 6 minutes, (2) take the (D) train to Midtown Manhattan which is generally a 35 minute ride, and (3) take the (E) train to Jamaica Center which is also a 35 minute ride as an Express (it takes 50 minutes as a LOCAL). The Subway appears faster if you are “on point with your connections” however add the wait times for trains (which are generally 10 minutes at stations if you miss a train or a connection) and this turns out to be the same amount of time (it would actually be faster to transfer from the Q44 to the Q76 in Whitestone if you are on point with your connections). Then you must look at the GENERAL direction of the Subways (which are to the Central Business District) and the general transfers between Queens bound trains and Bronx bound trains and you will find yourself at either Times Square or Grand Central (42nd Street). Just say it takes 45 to 50 minutes to ride to 42nd Street from The Bronx and 50 to 60 minutes to ride to 42nd Street from Jamaica and you can find yourself with a travel time between 95 to 110 minutes (close to 2 hours), proving that the Q44 as a bus (a slower mode of transit) is the faster route. And lets not forget the wait for trains.

      • Henry says:

        During the PM peak hour (departure time of 5pm), Google Transit forecasts 1h 20min travel time via subway between Fordham Plaza and Jamaica Station (which is in a different location than Jamaica Center), and 1h 55min via the bus. The time penalty for missing a bus is roughly the same, if not greater than missing a train connection, given that the subway runs more frequently than the bus in nearly all cases, excluding the A to the Rockaways. It’s very doubtful that the bus travel time could be improved by more than a half hour between the two points, given that the Whitestone will not feature a bus lane and probably will never feature one, and the difficulty in providing a bus lane west of Fordham Plaza due to the turns the route would have to take.

        The use case of travelers on the LIRR trying to get to MNRR via public transit is so insignificant that it doesn’t really matter. Most travelers who travel suburb-to-suburb do so by car, or by car + ferry, because doing so is usually cheaper and faster than train travel, and parking is not an issue in the suburbs. A 80 minute bus or train ride through the center of the city is not going to make this trip any more attractive. In fact, existing travel options are nearly always faster; it’s faster to transfer to an E and the 6 to Grand Central from Jamaica, and once East Side Access opens it will be trivial to change between LIRR and MNRR.

  2. Fredrick Wells says:

    Here are a few things that you are incorrect about!
    1. The MTA buses run at higher frequencies than the MTA Subways (the highest frequency Subway line is the (7) at 2 to 5 mninute headways at Peaks and 4 to 5 minute headways during Off Peak Hours, the highest frequency bus route is the M15 [include the M15 SBS] at 2 minute headways at Rush Hours and 3 to 4 minute headways at Off Peak Hours). The MTA Policy is to run the Subways at a general frequency of 10 to 12 minutes during the day (you can expect a 15 minute headway on some lines), and that a bus route would run at 30 minute headways (this is the case for new routes). The MTA cannot run Subways at a higher frequency than 2 minutes (30 trips per hour) for safety reasons, and they cannot run buses at higher frequency than 90 seconds (40 trips per hour) mainly to allow passenger loading at bus stops.
    2. Google Transit presents a forecast of delays on the Subway lines, however it does not present the best Transit directions. You need all of the System maps (the MTA Trip Planner sometimes does not show bus trips that span three boroughs).
    3. Regarding the East Side Access, people really cannot afford the fares between MetroNorth Railroad and LIRR. They would use the Subway to Queens (generally going no further than Elmhurst) from Grand Central Station, or they would try to bus their way from Fordham Station (which is a quick trip via the Bx22 with transfer to the Q44 to Downtown Flushing).
    4. The only Bronx to Queens Transit trips that are faster via Subway than via bus are as follows:
    a. Riverdale to Jamaica
    b. Jamaica to Yankee Stadium
    c. Wakefield to Elmhurst
    d. Wakefield to Far Rockaway
    e. Bronx to Ridgewood or Middle Village

    Here are some factors which has the Q44 appear slower than it really is:
    1. It takes 1 hour to go from Merrick/Archer to The Bronx (Throgs Neck Shopping Center).
    2. The Q25/Q34 is the faster route between Downtown Jamaica and Downtown Flushing (it travels the Kissena Blvd/Parsons Blvd corridor).
    3. The Q76 is the faster route between Downtown Jamaica (it terminates 2 blocks North of the Q44 Jamaica Terminal at 165th Street Bus Terminal) and Whitestone (last stop in Queens on the Q44) and College Point (this trip takes 45 minutes).

    As far as travel advisories are concerned:
    1. It is better to just stay on the Q44 and allow extra travel time than to try to break your neck taking many buses (paying more fares) to your destination (this in the case where you must take 3 buses or your starting point and destinations are not on the Q44 route but require that you use that bus as the link route).
    2. There are many areas in The Bronx that are within close proximity to the Bronx Zoo (such as Fordham Plaza, Bedford Park, Norwood, etc.) that are not on the Q44 line (as the route’s terminal is at West Farms Square just South of the Zoo) to where someone can actually drive you to the bus stop, or you would simply be patient with the Bronx Bus Service and look for your best connection route to the Q44 line.
    3. Use the Subway (for trips to Jamaica) if you are anywhere between the Hunts Point and Melrose sections (near Yankee Stadium) as it would be a difficult trip to the Q44 line (use only if going to Whitestone or Flushing).
    4. Use the Subway (for trips to Jamaica) if you are in Riverdale as the Bx9 is a crawl in The Bronx, and the (1) train is at Times Square by the time you either board the Q44 at West Farms Square or on the Q44 at Parkchester.
    5. If going to Far Rockaway, use the Subway as it is faster to take the (A) train from Lower Manhattan (where there is a transfer to/from a Subway line from The Bronx – exception is the (B) and (D) lines as there’s connections between Harlem and Greenwich Village) to Mott Avenue/Far Rockaway than it is to take the Q113/Q114 LIMITED from Jamaica to Far Rockaway.
    6. Use MetroNorth for Southern Westchester to Queens locations with transfers to the Subway at Grand Central or the M60 SELECT BUS SERVICE at Harlem-125th Street as the MetroNorth trains speed through The Bronx (use the Q44 with transfers to/from the (2), (5) or (6) trains at West Farms Square or Parkchester to connect with certain Bee Line Bus routes).
    7. Reduce your fares by using the Q44 bus to Jamaica Station for service to Eastern Long Island on the LIRR, and further reduce your fares by transferring to/from NICE Bus at Flushing or Jamaica.

    • Henry says:

      Let me just dismantle this all, one by one.

      1. Certain MTA bus lines may run at higher frequencies during peak hour. The Q44 is not one of these lines; it runs every 7-8 minutes during the PM peak. Most subway lines run better than this during the PM rush hour, so your waiting time for a bus trip to the Bronx will in fact be longer than that for a train.
      2. Google Transit also includes MTA-provided bus data, so I have no idea why you bring that up. If it included train delays but not bus delays, that would be advantageous for the bus, yet the subway is still shown as the faster option from Jamaica to Fordham.
      3. This is, of course, assuming that people would be willing to make an additional transfer that would be significantly more difficult and time consuming than just staying on the train. If it’s 90 minutes from Fordham Plaza to Jamaica one-way, that’s already a very long commute. I highly doubt that anyone would want to tack on a half-hourly train connection on either end of that as well.
      4. This isn’t germane to the discussion, since the original point you made was very specific about linking the LIRR to MNR. In this use case, the bus is not faster than the subway, and it sure as hell ain’t faster than the commuter rail.

      As for your remarks about the Q44 appearing slow:
      1. If the trip is actually slow during that stretch, that’s a fact, not misleading information.
      2 & 3: Okay, but you would have to change buses, probably destroying whatever time advantage you have due to the inconvenience and waiting time.

      You still haven’t addressed the facts that
      1. For users trying to get from LIRR to MNR, it is more slow and more inconvenient. Most people I know do not have the time to burn an extra hour or two on their daily commute every day round-trip, particularly any trip chaining the MNR or LIRR.
      2. For users trying to get to Fordham Plaza from the existing Q44, most bus connections possible at Fordham Plaza are with lines that already meet the Q44 somewhere else, so the utility value is low.
      3. Queens-Westchester and Bronx-Long Island commuting is almost nonexistent, and any such trips are diffuse and better served by private automobiles than trying to chain several trips throughout the various respective service areas. This is especially important considering that jobs in the suburbs may not be accessible from transit stations.

      I have a very hard time seeing any sort of justification for such a route extension.

      • Fredrick Wells says:

        There’s nothing to dismantle for the following reasons:

        1. The (D) train runs at 10 minute headways during the Peak Hours while the Q44 runs at 4 to 5 minute headways during the AM Peak and 7 minute headways during the PM Peak.

        2. No matter what Google Transit shows, there is clearly no Subway line direct from The Bronx (Fordham Plaza) to Jamaica (which would be parallel to the Q44 route servicing Downtown Flushing). All Subway lines in The Bronx take you to Midtown as you hear the announcements indicating that this is a “MANHATTAN BOUND…” on Southbound trips.

        3. What I have indicated about the Q44 is that (pertaining to trips to Southeastern Queens, Eastern Queens and Nassau County areas) it is better to “JUST STAY ON THE Q44” and transfer in Jamaica or Flushing (as you would (a) have more frequent bus service available, (b) you would reduce the number of transfers, (c) you would have a seat on NICE Bus to Nassau County, and (d) the Q44 would be treated as a “THRUWAY” bus connecting a Bronx bus with a Queens bus) than to try to break your neck transferring to either the Q25/Q34 or Q76 to speed up your trip (the Q25/Q34 is the faster route between Downtown Jamaica and Downtown Flushing, the Q76 is the faster route between Downtown Jamaica and Whitestone/College Point) unless your starting point or destination is along one of these bus lines (the Q25/Q34 is only 4 blocks East of the Q44 line along Kissena Blvd/Parsons Blvd). The reason I have stated that you should “ALLOW EXTRA TRAVEL TIME” is because (a) I am aware that there are other Queens bus services that are faster than the Q44, (b) the Q44 is designed to carry people between The Bronx and Queens without entering Manhattan, (c) and the Q44 connects with Subway lines (2), (5), (6), (7), (E), (F) and (J).

        4. What I have indicated about taking the Subway between The Bronx and Queens are as follows:
        a. Riverdale to Jamaica – (It is simply faster to just take the (1) from Riverdale to Times Square for the (E) than it is to take the Bx9 to West Farms Square for the Q44)
        b. Jamaica to Yankee Stadium – (the Q44 is on the other side of the Bronx [the East Side to be exact] and Yankee Stadium is looking at Manhattan [the Harlem and Washington Heights areas])
        c. Wakefield to Elmhurst – (The Elmhurst/Jackson Heights/Woodside/Sunnyside areas are looking at Midtown Manhattan with frequent Subway service and connections with Subway lines to/from The Bronx while Jamaica and Flushing bound customers can simply transfer at West Farms Square to the Q44 bus or they can simply relax on the Bx39 and transfer to the Q44 at Hugh G. Grant circle)
        d. Wakefield to Far Rockaway – (This mainly pertains to all Bronx sections going to The Rockaways. It takes less time for the (A) to go from Mott Avenue to Lower Manhattan than it takes the Q113/Q114 to go from Far Rockaway to Jamaica Center)
        e. Bronx to Ridgewood or Middle Village – (These areas are closer to Brooklyn, similar to Ozone Park and Woodhaven, and there is no sense in trying to connect with the Q44 after a 15 minute Subway ride or a 25 to 30 minute bus ride, unless you are going to an area of The Bronx not near a Subway yet near the Q44 [example – Throgs Neck], when you are just 30 minutes away from Lower Manhattan).

        5. Referring to Westchester County and Nassau County – Coach USA and Adirondack Trailways provides service into Downtown White Plains (Adirondack Trailways stops in New Rochelle) with a stop in Queens Village. This cuts down a commute from the anticipated 3 hours to just 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Bear in mind that these two carriers are designated to Upstate locations with Coach USA headed to Binghamton and Adirondack Trailways headed to Albany. The MTA must be used discretionarily and it is generally best to take the Q44 and transfer to the (2) or (5) train to the Bronx/Westchester border, then take Bee Line Bus the rest of the way.

        6. In reference to Fordham Plaza, only the Bx9 and Bx22 directly connect with the Q44. The Bx12 (Local and SBS) connects with the Q50 at Pelham Bay Park which only goes to Downtown Flushing. Extending the Q44 to Fordham Plaza would allow free transfers to/from Bee Line routes 60, 61, and 62, and to bus routes Bx34 and Bx41.

      • Henry says:

        1. If you assume average waiting time is half of the headway, we’re talking about the difference between waiting 3.5 minutes and waiting 5 minutes during the PM peak. The subway is currently faster by more than 90s, and directly linking Jamaica to Fordham Plaza is not going to improve travel time by significantly more than existing subway options.

        2. I don’t understand why that’s a problem. Due to differences in traffic, infrastructure, etc., the fastest trip between two destinations may not be the straightest path between them. It doesn’t matter if I have to go to Manhattan to make that trip, if the subway takes an hour 15, and the commuter rail does it in 40 minutes, versus the straight-path of a bus at 1 hour 55. I find it very hard to believe that you could improve travel times on the Q44 to make travel times between Fordham Plaza and Jamaica 30-40 minutes shorter, and even if you did you’d just get another travel option that is only just as good as current options anyways.

        3. Your entire point was to say that MNR-LIRR was such an important market that adding 30-45 minutes to the travel time each way on a slow bus was a viable option for a large group of commuters, but have yet to actually demonstrate this point.

        4 and 5 seem less about the Q44 and the benefits of extending it to Fordham than just talking about regional transportation patterns.

        6. The only useful transfers you get are to the Bee Line buses.
        The Bx9 and Bx22 already transfer with the Q44.
        For the Bx12, if you’re heading west of Jerome Av, use the subway. If you’re heading between Jerome Av and Southern Blvd, you can take the Bx9 and maybe walk if you need to. If you’re headed between Southern Blvd and WPR you can use the Bx22 or the 2/5 to Pelham Pkwy. East of there you should be taking the Q50 anyways.
        For the Bx15, Bx17, and Bx41, if you are headed south of Tremont Av it is faster to take the subway to either a stop west or to a stop south, and then take a connecting bus to that neighborhood. If you are headed between Tremont Av and Fordham Road, you can use the Bx36 or Bx40/42 at West Farms Square instead of transferring at Fordham Plaza and traveling south. If you are using the Bx41 north of Fordham Road, you can either take the Bx26 from Co-op City via the Q50, or you can take the 2/5 to Gun Hill Road.
        For the Bx28, it is faster to use the 7 and the D.

      • Fredrick Wells says:

        I generally agree with you in regards of West of Jerome Avenue (I am talking Riverdale and areas that are looking at Manhattan) use the Subway. I have an allowance to use the bus at Lehman College as the Bx22 runs there on Weekdays.

        As far as DIRECTLY linking or DIRECT service, unless the MTA proceeds and operates the TriBoro RX line (which would service in The Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn without entering Manhattan), I would disagree with you on saying the Subway is the faster route between Fordham Plaza and Jamaica, even if Google presents it that way. The simple reason is as follows:
        1. A general trip between Fordham Road/Pelham Parkway to 42nd Street (Times Square or Grand Central) is 45 to 55 minutes via the Subway – similar to the amount of time it takes to reach Downtown Flushing via the Bx9/Bx22 with transfer to the Q44.
        2. Then from Times Square or Grand Central to Jamaica Center, it is anywhere between 40 minutes to 1 hour via the Subway (you are either switching trains at Court Square or Jackson Heights, or you are one of the lucky ones to have the (E) or (F) right there provided that you are not in a slow go along the highly congested Queens Blvd line).
        3. Looking outside of the Rush Hours, there are times when you have FASTTRAK and Weekend Reconstruction projects where Subway service is suspended along portions of a route.

        I am not one to argue in regards of Google, as it presents the Subway as the faster trip when it is merely a common sense connection (at 7th Avenue/West 53rd Street between the (D) and (E) trains) as opposed to the travel allowance connections (you generally transfer to Queens bound trains from Bronx bound trains at 42nd Street). This means that barring a delay or some service disruption where you are to wait 20 to 25 minutes for trains, the travel allowance is observed in regarding the fact that you should be in Downtown Flushing on the Q44 by the time you hit Midtown Manhattan on the Subway. In regards of same direction travel, it is clear that the Subway is faster (the only exception is the Express Bus as I have beaten the Subway to Midtown using the Premium Fare Express Bus service).

        Also, when you look at Google Transit (see the Schedule Explorer), a trip from Fordham Plaza to Fran Hill Mall (at Hillside Avenue/Francis Lewis Blvd) is accomplished in 1 hour and 40 minutes via Bx22 with transfer to the Q44 with transfer to the Q76 in comparison to 2 hours via (D) – (E) – (F) – Q1/Q36/Q43/Q76/Q77, and a trip from Fordham Plaza to Green Acres is accomplished in 2 hours and 35 minutes via Bx22 with transfer to the Q44 with transfer to the Q5/Q85 (the STAY ON THE Q44 theory), which is about the same amount of time via (D) – (E) – Q5/Q85 (given the allowances).

        I would tell you this one. If there was a DIRECT Fordham Plaza to Jamaica Center Subway line (running parallel to the Q44), I would assure you that a trip from Fordham Plaza to Fran Hill Mall (Hillside Avenue/Francis Lewis Blvd) would be accomplished in 1 hour and 20 minutes (due to either transfer to (F) to 179th Street, then Q1/Q36/Q43/Q76/Q77 or transfer directly to the Q43), and a trip from Fordham Plaza to Green Acres Mall would be accomplished in 1 hour and 45 minutes (due to a direct transfer to the Q5/Q85 at Jamaica Center). If the (J) was extended to Laurelton, a trip to Green Acres Mall would be accomplished in 1 hour and 20 minutes. If the (F) was extended to LIJ (using this same theory), a trip to Fran Hill Mall (Hillside Avenue/Francis Lewis Blvd) would be accomplished in just 1 hour.

        Going back to the Q44 to Fordham Plaza story, there’s already codings for a Q44 LIMITED to Fordham Plaza, and the only way this would be possible is if there is a SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE (which would bypass the regular SELECT BUS SERVICE) mainly to reduce the run times. When SELECT BUS SERVICE is placed on the Q44, I can assure you that a trip would be reduced by up to 30%, which can mean that it will take 30 minutes less time to complete a run between Jamaica and The Bronx Zoo.

      • Henry says:

        The (E) runs every 4 minutes during the peak hour. Waiting for an (E) at 53 St (which, by the way, requires a transfer at 51 St, a full stop earlier than the (7) transfer), takes very little additional time and saves upwards of 20 minutes versus the Queens Boulevard local trains. Crowding conditions at Lex-53 are not so bad that you would have to be “lucky” to catch a train, unlike on the West Side or East Side IRT.

        You could argue that subway service could be disrupted by 20-25 minutes, but you could also argue that bus service is subject to the whims of traffic, particularly on the Whitestone Bridge; especially during stormy conditions or accidents, it is not unheard of for lanes on the bridge to be closed, or for the bridge to be closed completely. Bus service is more consistent over the weekend, but we should not be justifying capital expenditures based off of use cases that only apply during non-peak hours.

        The destination most people are trying to reach is not Francis Lewis/Hillside, and that isn’t germane to the discussion as that is not really a potential destination for any sort of Bronx-Queens SBS anyways. A direct bus ride would surely be faster, but so would a cab ride, and we don’t live in a world where we can just create high-frequency bus routes. Right now, the main destination is Jamaica Station; connecting to Parsons/Archer is nice, but not really necessary in the grand scheme of things.

        My main point is that even if you could reduce travel time from Fordham Plaza to Jamaica Station to 1h25min from 1h55min today, there wouldn’t be much benefit, since the subway costs the same amount and takes roughly the same amount of time anyways. If it offered significantly better travel time than the subway, then it would be worth discussing, but it does not, and therefore is not.

      • Fredrick Wells says:

        The (E) does not run every 4 minutes at Peak Hours! You are confusing that route with the (F)! The actual frequency of service for the (E) line is 5 to 7 minutes at Peak Hours, 6 to 9 minutes at Middays and on Saturdays, 10 to 12 minutes on Sundays and Evenings and 20 minutes at Late Nights.The (F) runs every 4 minutes at Peak Hours, 6 to 9 minutes at Middays, 10 to 12 minutes during Evenings and Weekends and 20 minutes during Late Nights.
        Let us not forget, some (E) trains begin and terminate at 179th Street during the Peak Hours.
        In regards of traffic on the bridges, there are times when the Q44 is detoured to the Throgs Neck Bridge (which only adds 15 minutes to a trip if it must go back to Whitestone), however one could also argue that on the Queens Blvd line, similar to the Lexington Avenue line, you could face congestion problems to where all trains must share the Local track to where it becomes a 1 hour trip between Queens Plaza and Roosevelt Avenue.

        Back to the (E) line discussion, you can only base the actual travel times with the actual destinations or starting points in Midtown Manhattan. It will range from 30 minutes to 1 hour on the Subway. If I am just going to Lexington Avenue at 51st Street, it is anywhere between 30 and 40 minutes (that is to include the walk, wait and ride), if it is Penn Station, it is anywhere between 40 and 50 minutes, and if it is the Empire State Building, it is 45 minutes to 1 hour (considering the fact that I must transfer to the (F) along Queens Blvd or to the (R) at Queens Plaza). In many cases I would beat the Subway using the X63/X64/X68 EXPRESS as there is a non-stop segment between Manhattan and Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens.

        Just by looking at these travel times, you can clearly see that the Q44 is in Flushing out of Jamaica or West Farms Square in that amount of time (estimated 35 to 45 minutes). The Subway’s worse case scenario is that the Q44 would be on the Whitestone Bridge out of Jamaica by the time you are on board a Bronx Bound train (in Midtown), and at Union Turnpike out of West Farms Square by the time you are on board a Queens bound train (in Midtown).

        You may also be looking at a Jamaica to Coney Island trip the same way. It is actually faster to take the (J) to Broadway Junction, transfer to the (C) to Franklin Avenue, transfer to the (S) to Prospect Park and transfer to the (Q) to Stillwell Avenue than it is to ride the (F) from end to end, however there is no direct bus link (from Southeast Queens) and it would only be a PREMIUM FARE EXPRESS (out of JFK Airport) that would beat the Subway in this situation.

  3. Fredrick Wells says:

    The Schedule for the Q44 SELECT BUS SERVICE is now available on http://www.mta.info. I have noticed a few things about the service upgrade. They are as follows:

    1. The Q44 SELECT BUS SERVICE will run more frequently during the day with Artics than the current Q44 LIMITED-STOP SERVICE with Artics. The Q44 SELECT BUS SERVICE will arrive every 5 to 6 minutes during the Peak Hours (approximately every 6 to 7 minutes during the PM Rush Hours), every 8 minutes during Middays, Evenings and Weekends and every 30 minutes during Late Nights.

    2. There will be a faster run time for the Q44 SELECT BUS SERVICE. As a LIMITED, the run time was 95 minutes on Weekdays and 85 minutes on Weekends. As a SELECT BUS SERVICE (BRT), the run time will be 85 minutes on Weekdays and 75 minutes on Weekends (some exceptions may be during the PM Rush Hours when there is traffic on the Bronx – Whitestone Bridge).

    What I have also noticed are the following:

    1. There will be a need for a SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE along the Q44 route, especially during the Rush Hours.

    2. There will be a need to further beef up service on the Q44 route (to every 2 to 3 minutes at Rush Hours and every 4 to 5 minutes at Middays, Evenings and Weekends) in order to add the new SUPER SELECT BUS SERVICE.

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