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How To Survive an MTA Subway and Bus Strike - Queens Edition

Getting to Work on Time From Queens When There's No Subway or Bus

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Updated April 25, 2009
Subway and bus service has been suspended throughout New York City. The MTA and the Transport Workers Union have not resolved their prolonged contract negotiations.

What Happens To Queens During the Strike?

Throughout the MTA strike, Queens residents have to rely on the LIRR, AirTrain, Water Taxi ferry, dollar vans, car pools, bikes, and the shoe leather express to get between work, school, shops, and home:
  • All subways service is suspended.
  • All buses are suspended except for the Green Bus Line.

  • The MTA is in the process of taking over the private bus companies in Queens (Command, Triborough, Green, and Jamaica Bus Lines). Their workers plan to join the strike, and the private buses are not running, except for the Green Bus Line in southeastern Queens.

What Mass Transit Is Running During the Strike?

The best option -- most reliable and quickest -- is the LIRR (Long Island Railroad), which will continue its regular schedule (and may increase capacity by December 21).
  • All stations in Queens connect to Manhattan's Penn Station. But if you're going to Brooklyn, only LIRR stations that pass through Jamaica (not Port Washington line) connect to Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue.
  • Main LIRR stations in Queens: Jamaica, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Flushing-Main Street, Bayside, Woodside, Queens Village, St. Albans

The Water Taxi Ferry to Manhattan is a great option. Water Taxi will sail from Hunter's Point in Long Island City (2 Borden Avenue, directions) to Manhattan's 34th Street and Wall Street, and to Brooklyn/DUMBO's Fulton Ferry landing.

  • Water Taxi has a parking lot, but if it gets full, try parking in the garage at CityLights (big Queens West tower).
The Long Island Buses will run, connecting eastern Queens to Nassau County. Catch them from Jamaica Center, Jamaica's 165th Street Terminal, and Flushing's Main Street.

Dollars Vans will ply the major thoroughfares of Queens, but they will hit the same traffic nightmares as any other drivers. Dollars vans are allowed to charge a maximum of $5 per passenger, regardless of destination. They follow bus routes, and will pick up passengers waiting at regular bus stops.

  • Dollar vans offer no guarantees and no schedules
. Air Train will run, connecting Jamaica LIRR to JFK Airport (and a Howard Beach stop).

Is It Crazy to Drive From Queens to Manhattan During a Strike?

Yes, it would be a little crazy to drive to Manhattan or back to Queens on a weekday during a strike. You would probably sit in traffic for more than hour beyond your normal commute. NYC City Hall has increased restrictions on traffic in order to increase flow.

Restrictions on Driving in Queens and to Manhattan
Only cars carrying four or more people will be allowed on the LIE, from the Grand Central Parkway to Queens-Midtown Tunnel (bus/HOV EZ-pass lane for buses and emergency vehicles only) -- when traveling into Manhattan from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The same HOV 4 restrictions will be in force for the Midtown Tunnel, Queensboro/59th Street Bridge, and Triborough Bridge. (Rush hour lane reversals on the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge and Midtown Tunnel should be a help.)

Where Can I Meet People to Form a Carpool in Queens?

Carpooling is a must if you want to drive to Manhattan. Find passengers to fill your car to the four person requirement at a Queens carpool staging area:
  • Astoria Park - Hoyt and 15th Ave
  • Flushing Meadows Park - Exit 7P Grand Central Parkway
  • Little Bay Park - Cross Island Parkway / Utopia / Little Bay Parkway
  • Crocheron Park - 33rd Ave and 215th Pl
  • Alley Pond Park - Win chester Blvd and Union Tpke
  • Kissena Park - Velodrome
  • Cunningham Park - Union Tpke and Francis Lewis Blvd
  • Belmont Park - Cross Island Pkwy and Hempstead Ave
  • Jacob Riis Park - Beach Channel Drive and Marine Park Bridge
Park and Ride in Queens
Park at Shea Stadium's huge lots and ride the LIRR from the nearby LIRR Willets Point station to Penn Station (Port Washington line does not go to Brooklyn). Requires four passengers in order to park.

Is It Possible to Bike or Walk to Manhattan From Queens?

Yes, there are special lanes for biking and walking across the Queensboro Bridge (aka 59th Street Bridge) and the Triborough Bridge. Neither comes highly recommended, but if traffic is at a standstill, then you'll feel like a million bucks.
  • Good luck and get an early start!
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