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Last Sunday, the Q44 Select Bus Service launched in Queens and the Bronx, providing quicker travel times for over 40,000 daily users. However, there is an unsettled debate as to how convenient and effective this new travel method is.
With the launch of this service, the Department of Transportation states travel time will be cut by 23%. Passengers will no longer wait to swipe their metrocards, but rather pay before they board. New machines have been installed in front of SBS stops. Commuters will now have to insert their Metrocards, and receive a ticket that serves as their proof of payment. This allows users to enter the bus through any door.
Sophomore Aliana Brkanovic praises the new service, saying, “Now, you can get on the back of the bus without having to shove your way through everyone.”
Although passengers no longer have to wait until everyone has swiped their metrocards, many still prefer the old service. Many find it difficult because the lines for metrocards are too long now.
Junior Alyssa De Guzman states, “The buses are much more overcrowded now and it takes double the time to get out of the station because the doors simply won’t close.”
Most students at THHS rely on the Q44 for daily transportation. From a survey conducted among 100 Townsend Harris students, 12% stated they liked the service, 58% stated they disliked it, and 30% of students felt neutral about it.
From this survey, the majority said the reason why they dislike the service was that it is too much of a hassle. Overall, 70% of students stated the service will not help stop delays.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation created isolated lanes for the bus throughout Flushing and Jamaica. This serves to fulfill their promise of cutting travel time throughout the city. The new features cost the city $2.7 million per lane mile, raising the possibility of an increased transit fare.
Freshman Pheonix Wallace said, “Fare rises [occur] almost every year and if it is to fund services like these that makes it unnecessary and wasteful.”
With the service being relatively new, and there being only eight other select buses in the city, many users are skeptical. Senior Jaskirat Singh Multani questions “the reliability of the machines” and whether or not “the bus driver will put a limit to how many people can be on the bus.” Others question what to do if the Q20 A/B comes first, the local version of the Q44.
Sophomore Sandeep Kaur said, “We all have to get used to it first in order to see the true results.”