The Queens Public Transit Committee (QPTC) wants to speed things up in South Queens. NY1's Lyndsay Christian filed the following report.
"What do we want, a rail, when do we want it? Now!" the group exclaimed in an organized protest Tuesday.
The grassroots organization is focused on improving transportation in the borough. Members say bus service in South Queens is notoriously slow. The city wants to make the Q52 and Q53 into select bus service - providing dedicated bus lanes, the option to pay before you board and fewer stops. The group says it will add even more stress for commuters along Woodhaven and Crossbay Boulevards.
"What's gonna happen is the gridlock is going to occur when you take away a traffic lane, people are stuck in cars and you don't have enough transit options and the select bus service is not going to do it," QPTC President Philip McManus said.
The MTA says select bus services will provide faster, more reliable bus service and improved customer satisfaction. The committee says it disagrees.
"South Queens is quite frankly in danger of cardiac arrest, because it's main artery is clogged, the way to alleviate that is not to jam more traffic on the streets," QPTC Vice-President Michael Scala said.
The group has proposed a plan to the MTA to alleviate the problem.
"We are advocating for the queens rail, which is an unused train track about 3.5 to 4 miles long, from Rockaway Boulevard up to main line to Queens Boulevard," McManus said.
Members of the transit committee say the proposed Queens Rail would reduce the commute from South Queens to Midtown Manhattan from an hour and a half to 45 minutes and would benefit communities in between.
"According to the MTA's numbers, 30,000 people a day would benefit from it," QPTC Member Eugene Falik said.
"If you're saying it's going to deal with traffic, less congested, and we're going to get there faster, then yeah, yay for it," a commuter said.
The MTA says it has committed to study transportation options and issues along the corridor and will issue a report no later than June 2017 regarding re-implementing the Queens rail.
Until then, commuters say they'll "ride it out" until the city offers a better, faster solution.