There's a new look for a little-known mass transit link to LaGuardia Airport. The makeover of the Q70 bus line is one of the first signs of the multibillion-dollar overhaul now taking place at the airport. NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez has the story.
A new name for an old bus line: all aboard the LaGuardia Link — formerly the Q70.
It has been rebranded to emphasize its route, connecting the airport and two major subway stops in Queens.
"It's colorful, there's a plane on the side. It's really clear," one man said before he got on.
"Getting off the train, I knew I was supposed to take the bus, but there were a million buses, and I instantly saw it because of the blue sign, so it's pretty easy to find," one woman said.
Easing the confusion of travelers was a big goal when advocates began lobbying for the link last fall.
They called for a free airport shuttle to and from the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue and 61st Street/Woodside subway stations.
"A visitor getting off the airplane who wanted to go to the subway would never understand what they're supposed to do to go there," said John Raskin, the executive director of the Riders Alliance. "But it's actually quite simple.
"So this bus is an obvious way for anyone getting off the airplane at LaGuardia to say, 'That is the fastest way to the subway,'" Raskin continued.
MTA officials rejected the idea of free service, but the agency agreed to create a more recognizable link to the subway and the Long Island Rail Road.
It also added luggage racks and it made the route a Select Bus Service line, allowing riders to board at any door after paying the fare at a machine.
"Hopefully it will make things faster so we don't have to do the Metro Card thing," one commuter said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised a direct rail link to LaGuardia.
Until then, it's hoped that the rebranded bus route and speedier boarding will boost the use of mass transit at the airport.
"I think more and more people will start riding the bus to LaGuardia. And as that happens, I think the MTA will begin adding more service," Raskin said. "I think it'll be a virtuous cycle."
Last year, a little more than 4,000 riders used the line daily, an 18 percent increase from 2014.
The Q70 becomes the 11th Select Bus Service line in the city.
The MTA isn't done adding to its collection of Select Bus Service (SBS) lines this fall. On Nov. 7, the M23, which runs along 23rd Street in Manhattan, will become the latest SBS line.