More than 30 million travelers use LaGuardia Airport each year, but few know about a mass transit link that can take them there, and back. That's about to change, one of the first visible signs of the multibillion-dollar transformation coming to the airport. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
A new look is coming to one of the city's biggest gateways.
"This is not going to be a rebuilding of LaGuardia. It's going to be a whole new airport," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Right down to an overlooked Queens bus line that can get you there.
The Q70, which runs between the airport and major subway stops in Jackson Heights and Woodside, will be rebranded. Starting in September, it will be named the "LaGuardia Link."
"Yeah, I think the name might be better so people can recognize it better," said one commuter.
For Q70 riders, the line is something of a well-kept secret.
"I don't know how many use it, but it was the best option for us," said one commuter.
That's been its problem. Transit advocates have been urging the MTA and the Port Authority to do a much better job promoting the route.
"You know, there's a bus to the airport and it works well, but nobody knows about it. This is a way that will clue in the general public to the fact that you can access LaGuardia very easily by public transportation," said John Raskin of Riders Alliance.
The Riders Alliance had been pushing the MTA to make the Q70 into a free transfer, but the agency says that idea isn't about to get off the ground. But it will become a Select Bus Service line. That will allow riders to pay fares before boarding and enter the bus from any door, to cut travel times.
"If they make it faster, that will make it better for everybody," said one commuter.
Since the route's debut in 2013, average weekday ridership has more than doubled to 4,300. Officials expect it to keep growing.
"I think if if it's well-marked at the airport and if the MTA advertises it to the public, you'll see many more people choosing public transit as the way to get to LaGuardia," Raskin said.
A holy grail for travelers to the airport, a train to the plane, is also part of the rebuilding plan. For now, though, a train to a bus to the plane will have to do.