March 21, 2015 By Christian Murray
The bus that serves the western Queens waterfront between Astoria and Long Island City—via Vernon Blvd—will be available on weekends on a permanent basis, according to the MTA.
The expanded Q 103 bus service, which began offering weekend service on a trial basis in June 2014, has now been incorporated as part of the MTA’s permanent schedule.
The service will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from approximately 8 am to 7 pm, the MTA said.
The permanent change will also increase weeknight hours—from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. These expanded hours were also part of the June 2014 trial.
The Q103 local route runs along Vernon Boulevard, through areas that have recently experienced tremendous population growth amid new residential developments and expanded cultural attractions such as the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park, according to the MTA.
The Q103 route is the only public transportation option along the Vernon Boulevard corridor serving those neighborhoods and connects those areas to the 21 St-Queensbridge and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue stop.
A public hearing was held in December to discuss the added Q 103 service and the community turned out in big numbers to support it.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris had been a strong advocate for the increased service from the get-go, noting that the Astoria/LIC link is essential given the cultural institutions and rising population.
During the trial period, the MTA said that ridership levels increased on weekdays by 6.8 percent compared to the five-month period before the pilot program’s implementation, and by 30 percent compared to the average weekday average in 2013.
Current weekday ridership is 1,100 customers; average Saturday ridership is approximately 300 customers, and 250 customers on Sundays.