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MTA Adds More Trips To Crowded Bus Line

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TWC News: MTA Adds More Trips To Crowded Bus Line
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Since Hurricane Sandy, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has had to figure out how to move people on and off the Rockaway Peninsula and it's now increasing service on a key bus route. NY1's Arlene Borenstein has the story.

Since Hurricane Sandy took out the bridge that carries the A subway line to the Rockaways, many bus lines have been packed.

"The bus is always crowded," one man said. "There is a long wait for the buses."

But it's not just the wait that is making travel difficult for commuters. The ride is taking much longer as well.

That's why the MTA is stepping in and trying to ease the pain of the morning rush with two new Q53 buses.

Usually the route between Woodside and Rockaway Park starts at 5 a.m., but the MTA is starting the new buses at 4:30 a.m. and 4:45 a.m.

But that may not be enough for some riders.

Fawzi Khateri used to walk down the block to get from his home to his job in Rockaway Park. But since his house was destroyed, he now has to come in by bus from Brooklyn. He said he wants more buses on the Q35 route.

"We have to wait like 10, 15 minutes sometime. Like a half hour sometimes," Khateri said. "If I go overnight it takes 45 minutes to come."

And it's not just commuters looking for relief.

One business owner near the bus stop says no matter how many buses run, it may be too late to save his store.

"No business," Patel Geta said. "Nobody coming. Too much damage"

But others say the buses bring business they desperately need.

"Very busy, a lot of customers," Salm Algamsh of Pickles and Pies Deli said. "A lot of construction people. We're doing pretty well."

Transportation is vital. Not just from the Rockaways to the rest of the city, but on the peninsula itself.

The MTA introduced the H shuttle last month to replace part of the A line. It runs between Beach 90th street and Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station where shuttle buses are available to Howard Beach.

"I think it's been doing pretty good," Q53 bus rider Mary Courty said. "You know it's never enough."

The MTA says it will continue to monitor ridership to help serve residents as much as possible.

Meanwhile, the A train may not be back until the summer.

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