The Q70 bus to LaGuardia Airport will be free starting Sunday, May 1, while officials study alternatives to the scrapped AirTrain, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.
The bus connects the airport to five subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road in Queens and officials have previously made it fare-free on busy weekends, such as holidays, as a way to encourage travelers to use mass transit and reduce congestion.
Hochul unveiled the fare suspension while being the first sitting governor to attend a monthly MTA board meeting on April 27, saying she was inspired by a recent editorial in the New York Daily News pushing the move.
“I thought that made a lot of sense that the Q70 bus could be this interim means to let people know that this is a good way to get from the airport to the next station 10 minutes away,” Hochul told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“When there’s ideas that are out there that make sense to us, we’re not going to debate it and study it and think about it for a long time — I’m a person of action,” the governor added.
The line, rebranded by Hochul’s predecessor Andrew Cuomo as the “LaGuardia Link” in 2016, runs between the airport’s terminals and the 74 Street-Broadway/Jackson Heights Roosevelt Avenue subway station on the E, F, M, R, and 7 lines, as well as the LIRR’s Woodside station.
Advocates have for years called on the governor — who controls the MTA — to do away with the fares on the people mover.
“For seven years, riders have demanded a free Q70 bus, a simple connection to the subway and Long Island Rail Road that encourages air travelers to take advantage of New York’s extensive public transit network at virtually no cost to the MTA. Now Governor Kathy Hochul has wisely embraced riders’ idea and made it reality,” said Danny Pearlstein, a spokesperson of the advocacy group Riders Alliance, in a statement.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the region’s airports, convened a panel to study 14 alternatives to former Governor Cuomo’s AirTrain proposal for LaGuardia, including subway extensions, light rail, bus rapid transit, or even a ferry.
Hochul asked the Port Authority to hit the brakes on the $2.1 billion AirTrain back in October.
The bi-state agency’s executive director said the brain trust is working “expeditiously” on the review.
“The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey welcomes Governor Hochul’s decision to make the Q70 LaGuardia Link bus to LaGuardia Airport free on a full-time basis for the foreseeable future,” said Rick Cotton in a statement. “The Port Authority is working expeditiously to complete the Governor’s request for a thorough review of potential alternative mass transit options to LaGuardia Airport, which is focused on 14 alternatives that were presented to the public last month.”