The MTA announced this morning that it plans to increase service on the Q70 Limited bus to LaGuardia Airport and hopes to roll out Select Bus Service on the route later this year. Riders Alliance Executive Director John Raskin applauded the news as “a great step toward implementing a real airport shuttle from the subway” but said the MTA can do more.
A November report from the Riders Alliance suggested that rebranding the route as a “Free LaGuardia Subway Shuttle” would provide travelers with easy transit access to the airport at minimal cost to the MTA. The proposal contrasts with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s billion-dollar AirTrain to LaGuardia project, which would actually be slower than existing transit options.
The Q70 runs between the 61st Street-Woodside LIRR/7 train stop, Jackson Heights, and the airport. It currently runs every 12 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes overnight. Starting this spring, the MTA will increase frequency to every eight minutes during weekday peak and evening hours, every 10 minutes on weekends, and every 20 minutes overnight. The agency says it will roll out off-board fare collection later this year, further cutting trip times.
The Riders Alliance plan calls for a few other steps, including the elimination of fares and improving the branding and signage for the service, which can be hard to find, especially for travelers new to NYC. The November report highlighted the fact that 90 percent of Q70 riders transfer to the subway or LIRR, so making the bus free would have a minimal revenue impact.