Main Street buses (Queens)

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For additional information on the current bus services, see List of bus routes in Queens and Select Bus Service.
Q20A / Q20B / Q44 Select Bus Service
Main Street line
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System MTA Regional Bus Operations
Operator New York City Transit Authority
Garage Casey Stengel Depot



Livery Q44: Select Bus Service
Began service 1932 (Whitestone Branch service)
1937 (Q20 Flushing-College Point service)
1938 (Q44 Flushing-Jamaica service)
1940 (Q44 Bronx-Jamaica service)
1999 (Q44 limited-stop service; Q20A/B College Point-Jamaica service)
2015 (Q44 SBS)
Locale Queens; The Bronx
Communities served Queens: Jamaica, Briarwood, Kew Gardens Hills, Queensboro Hill, Flushing, Whitestone, College Point[1]
The Bronx (Q44): Throggs Neck, Unionport, Parkchester, Bronx River, West Farms, Bronx Park[1]
Start Jamaica, Queens – Merrick Boulevard
Via Main Street, Union Street, Parsons Boulevard
Q44 (Bronx): Cross Bronx Expressway service road
End Q20A/B: College Point, Queens – College Point Boulevard & 15th Avenue
Q44: Bronx Zoo/West Farms Square – East 180th Street
Length Q44: 13.9 miles (22.4 km)[1]
Operates 24 hours (Q20A, Q44)[note 1][2]
Daily ridership Q20A/B: 4,221,715 (2014)[3]
Q44: 9,240,549 (2014)[3]
Fare $2.75 (MetroCard or coins)
Cash Coins only (exact change required)
Transfers Yes
Timetable Q20A/B
← Q19
S79 SBS →

The Q20A and Q20B (collectively referred to as Q20A/B or Q20) and Q44 bus routes constitute a public transit line in Queens, New York City, United States, running primarily along Main Street between two major bus-subway hubs in the neighborhoods of Jamaica and Flushing. The Q20A/B terminates in College Point at the north end of Queens. The Q44 continues north into the borough of the Bronx, terminating in the West Farms neighborhood near the Bronx Zoo. The Q44 is one of two bus routes to operate between the two boroughs (along with the Q50).

The Q44 and Q20 were originally operated by the North Shore Bus Company from the 1930s to 1947; they are now operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations under the New York City Transit brand. In June 1999, the Q44 began limited stop service in Queens, with the Q20 split into two branches to provide local service. On November 29, 2015, the Q44 was converted into a Select Bus Service (SBS) route.

Route description and service[edit]

Main article: Main Street (Queens)


The current Q44 route remains largely unchanged since it began service in 1938.[4] It begins at the intersection of Merrick Boulevard and Archer Avenue in Downtown Jamaica, Queens (or Jamaica Central), just south of the 165th Street Bus Terminal. Traveling west along Archer Avenue, it passes the Jamaica Center station of the Archer Avenue subway and its Bus Terminal. At the Sutphin Boulevard subway station and Jamaica Long Island Rail Road and Airtrain JFK station, the route turns north onto Sutphin Boulevard. It then turns west onto Hillside Avenue and north onto Queens Boulevard, interchanging with two stations of the IND Queens Boulevard Line. It then moves onto Main Street, running the entire distance of the street between Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard in Downtown Flushing (also known as Flushing Chinatown). In Downtown Flushing is the Flushing – Main Street terminal, where several bus lines, the IRT Flushing Line subway, and the LIRR Port Washington Branch interchange. The Q44 shifts onto Union Street and Parsons Boulevard to 14th Avenue in Whitestone. It then enters the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge, sharing the bridge with the Q50. Throughout Queens, the Q44 provides limited service, making intermittent stops primarily at major intersections and points of interest.[1][2][5][6]

After entering the Bronx, the Q44 follows the Hutchinson River Parkway service road to just south of the Bruckner Interchange, making a single stop at Lafayette Avenue. It then turns west onto the Cross Bronx Expressway service road, running along either direction of the road to about the interchange with the Sheridan Expressway, except for a short portion on the Hugh J. Grant Circle at the Parkchester subway station. It then turns north onto Devoe Avenue, stopping at East Tremont Avenue near the West Farms Square subway station, and terminating at East 180th Street at the southern boundary of the Bronx Zoo. Buses layover on a bridge over the Bronx River, before reentering service on Boston Road. Although the Q44's northern terminal is signed as "Bronx Zoo" (formerly "Bronx Zoo − West Farms Square"), the zoo is not accessible from this location; the closest entrance is several blocks north at Bronx Park South and Boston Road.[1][2][5][7]


The Q20A and B service shares the same routing as the Q44 between Jamaica and Whitestone, before diverging west towards their terminal in College Point near Flushing Bay. The Q20A branches off at 20th Avenue, running along the northern edge of the former Flushing Airport. The Q20B turns west farther north at 14th Avenue, running through a much more residential area. Both the 20th and 14th Avenue routes were part of the original Q20, which only ran between College Point and Downtown Flushing. Both routes provide local service, with the Q20A running at all times, and the Q20B operating only on weekdays.[6][8]


A Q44 Nova Bus articulated bus in Flushing, Queens in 2012, prior to implementation of Select Bus Service.

On February 15, 1932, North Shore Bus Company began operating a bus service to replace the Long Island Rail Road's Whitestone Branch,[4][9][10] labeled "Q35".[11] This service (not to be confused with the current Q35 service between Brooklyn and Rockaway Park) ran from the Flushing – Main Street terminal, north along Linden Street (now Linden Place) and 127th Street to 14th Avenue through Flushing and College Point;[12][13] this is the routing of the current Q25 bus in the area. It then ran east along 14th Avenue before following the current Q76 and Q15 routes to Whitestone.

On May 2, 1933, North Shore Bus began a shuttle service along Main Street between Main Street/Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Flushing and Horace Harding Boulevard (now the Long Island Expressway) in Queensboro Hill.[14] This was the predecessor to Q44 service; Main Street had yet to be extended south past Reeves Avenue (the north end of modern Queens College).[15]

On September 22, 1935 the North Shore Bus Company acquired, but did not merge with, the Flushing Heights Bus Corporation which operated the Q17 and the Q25 services between Jamaica and Flushing.[16][17] North Shore only acquired the Q25 on a temporary basis;[18] as compensation, the city assured the company that they would get a new route between Flushing and Jamaica via Main Street. This was planned to go into service after the extension of Main Street, including a bridge over the Grand Central Parkway, was completed. In 1937, several major bus route changes occured. Queens–Nassau Transit took over the Q25 service and combined it with their Q34 route along Linden Place and 127th Street in College Point (predecessor to the northern portion of the current Q25). The Q35 was discontinued by North Shore, and was replaced by a new Q20 service.[18][19][20][21] The route of the Q20 was the same as the current route of the Q20B (via 14th Avenue), except that it continued north along 122nd Street (now College Point Boulevard) and followed the same looping route as the current Q25 (then Q34) near MacNeil Park at the north end of the borough.[20][22][23]

In December 1936, North Shore applied for a franchise on route "Q-44" between Flushing and Jamaica via Main Street.[24] On March 22, 1938, Q44 service began between Flushing – Main Street and Archer Avenue at the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station,[4][25] when Main Street was extended south to the Grand Central Parkway.[15][26] The company advertised the route as the shortest "from the entire North Shore" of Queens to Jamaica, running 15 minutes between terminals.[27][28][29] Following the opening of the Bronx–Whitestone Bridge in April 1939,[30] on July 1 North Shore began operating bus service between West Farms Square in the Bronx and the 1939 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.[31] On October 28, 1940, this route was combined with the Q44, running from Kew Gardens – Union Turnpike station (along the route that would become the Q74) through Whitestone and along East 177th Street (now the Cross Bronx Expressway service road) in the Bronx to Tremont Avenue and Boston Road at West Farms Square. An alternate branch ran to Westchester Square, Bronx.[22][32][33] By December of that year, the Q44 returned to Jamaica, running to the 165th Street Bus Terminal.[34]

A Q20A at Main Street and Northern Boulevard in Downtown Flushing.

On July 1, 1939, the Q20 became interlined with the Q17, meaning that south of Flushing the bus would continue via the Q17 route to the Jamaica−165th Street terminal.[22][35] The service was designated "Q17-20" or "Q20-17" and rollsigns would display Q17/20.[22][34][36][37] Beginning on June 8, 1942 due to restrictions on gasoline and tire usage during World War II, the service was truncated to 14th Avenue and 122nd Street in College Point.[22][38] Service north of 14th Avenue was restored on February 4, 1946.[36] The Q20 was separated from the Q17 during off-peak "base period" hours on January 27, 1947.[39] In March of that year, North Shore Bus would be taken over by the Board of Transportation (later the New York City Transit Authority), making the bus routes city operated.[40][41] The joint Q17-20 service later became popular among students of St. John's University, and residents from Jamaica Estates and Flushing Heights (now Kew Gardens Hills) shopping in Downtown Flushing.[42][43][44]

On February 3, 1957, the Transit Authority separated the Q17 and Q20 services at all times, eliminated service north of 14th Avenue and 122nd Street (College Point Boulevard), and renamed the Q20 the Q44FS (Flushing Shuttle).[23][42][43][45] It was one of several routes using the "Q44" designation including the Q44 itself, the Q44A (now the Q46), the Q44B (a shuttle to Malba, Queens which has since been discontinued), and the Q44VP (later the Q74).[4][22][43][46]

During the 1964 New York World's Fair, special Q44 service was inaugurated, running to the Rodman Street entrance of Flushing Meadows Park. The routes, designated "Q44 WF" and marked "World's Fair", originated from either West Farms Square or 165th Street and made stops on the Bronx or Queens portions of the route respectively before terminating at the fair.[47][48]

On April 12, 1990,[49] the Q44FS was renumbered to Q20; at this time, 20th Avenue service began. In September 1995, weekend service was eliminated on the Q20, making it a weekday-only service.[50]

In June 1999, the Q44 began limited-stop service in Queens, with the Q20 split into two branches (Q20A and Q20B) to provide local service. Weekend service was also restored on the Q20A. Since the Q44 became limited, the Q20 was extended south along Main Street to make local stops.[51] At this time, the Q44 was shifted from its historical route in the neighborhood of Briarwood between Union Turnpike and Hillside Avenue. It had previously turned east onto the Grand Central Parkway service road and then turned south onto 150th Street towards Jamaica,[25][27][28][51] the same route employed since 1938 when Main Street dead-ended at the Grand Central service road.[26][52] It was rerouted to continue south via Main Street, and then via Queens Boulevard to Hillside Avenue.[51]

Select Bus Service and service expansion[edit]

In 2006, the Main Street corridor was identified as a potential route for Flushing-Jamaica bus rapid transit (BRT) service, as part of the first phase of the MTA and DOT's Select Bus Service (SBS) plan.[5] The corridor was ultimately not included in the first phase of SBS routes.[53][54] In February 2008, the MTA proposed an additional limited-stop service on the northern portion of the corridor between Flushing and Fordham Plaza, provisionally named the Q94. Eliminating the required transfer to the Bx9 at East 180th Street, it was referred to as a "Super Limited", and would have also replaced the special X32 school service (since discontinued) between Queens and Bedford Park.[54][55][56][57]

Though the Q94 was never implemented, the Q44 route was included in the SBS Phase II study in 2009.[5][53][58] By 2013, the Q44 was the first route in Queens to have a full fleet of articulated buses;[59][60] the same buses (the Nova Bus LFS model) used on SBS service. In 2014, the 164th Street corridor (Q65) and the Parsons/Kissena corridor (Q25 and Q34) joined the Main Street corridor as potential SBS routes between Flushing and Jamaica.[61][62] The Q25 Limited and Q44 Limited were selected for further studies, with the Q44 prioritized due to its high ridership, interborough connection between Queens and the Bronx, and the width of Main Street to facilitate bus lanes.[1][63]

On November 29, 2015, the Q44 SBS began service, and was expanded to 24 hours a day. In order to cover the former Q44 local route during late nights, the Q20A became a full-time route.[1][64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Q20B operates weekdays only". 


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Flushing To Jamaica Select Bus Service: January 22, 2015: Public Open House" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York), New York City Department of Transportation. January 22, 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Q44 SBS bus schedule MTA Regional Bus Operations.
  3. ^ a b "Facts and Figures". 2011-08-28. Retrieved 2016-01-19. 
  4. ^ a b c d "NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT ROUTES". Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Q44 Select Bus Service: Queens Community Board 12 Transportation Committee" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Queens Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 
  7. ^ "Bronx Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 
  8. ^ Q20 bus schedule MTA Regional Bus Operations.
  9. ^ "New Bus Line Seen As Relief to Whitestone". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 6, 1932. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "Whitestone Seen Served by Buses When L.I.R. Quits: City Shows No Signs of Activity to Give Rapid Transit to North Shore". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 5, 1932. p. 3. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "City Will Protect Bus Employees By Clauses in All New Franchises; 32 Separate Bids Made for Routes in Queens; Green Line Offers 15 Per Cent for Entire Borough" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. April 6, 1934. p. 9. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "North Shore Bus Routes Changes By Repaving Work: Flushing and Whitestone Projects Necessitate Shifts in Three Lines". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 4, 1932. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Whitestone Bus Express Service Is Discontinued: North Shore Bus Company Blames Lack of Adequate Patronage" (PDF). Brooklyn Daily Star. June 28, 1932. p. 14. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  14. ^ "Queensboro Hill Bus To Run Tomorrow". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 1, 1933. p. 10. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Walsh, Kevin (October 2010). "MAIN STREET, Flushing". Forgotten NY. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Bus Routes Changed By Zone Plan; Some Riders to be Forced to Transfer; Committee Takes Corona Line From North Shore, Gives It to Tri-Boro" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press (Long Island Sunday Press) (316). January 12, 1936. p. 4. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  17. ^ "North Shore Company Takes Over Rival's Routes". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 24, 1935. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "Survey Shows Commuters in Zone B Want More Buses Run in Rush Hours: North Shore Passengers Praise Equipment as Improvement" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. April 7, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  19. ^ "Survey Shows Commuters in Zone B Want More Buses Run in Rush Hours: North Shore Passengers Praise Equipment as Improvement" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. April 7, 1937. p. 1. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Franchises Awarded for Thirty-Four Bus Routes" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. September 25, 1936. p. 10. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  21. ^ "Summer City Hall Linked By Buses: Queens-Nassau Transit to Start Jamaica to College Point Route". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 15, 1937. p. 32. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f "For the Convenience of A, B and C Car Owners" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. December 22, 1942. p. 7. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  23. ^ a b "College Point Backs Move to Curb TA" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. January 14, 1957. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "Franchise Hearing: Motor Omnibus Lines, Queens" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. December 4, 1936. p. 28. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Harvey Sees New Bus Route As Spur to Queens Shopping: Ceremonies Mark Opening of Jamaica-Flushing Transit Line" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press (Section Two). March 23, 1938. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  26. ^ a b "Main Street Extension Is A 'Hot Potato': With Coming of Fall, Civic Leaders Are Again Demanding Action" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. September 6, 1938. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  27. ^ a b "Buses to Pass Courthouse" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. February 28, 1939. p. 9. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  28. ^ a b North Shore Bus Company (March 21, 1938). "New Bus Line: Traveling Time Cut in HALF" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. p. 3. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  29. ^ North Shore Bus Company (July 11, 1938). "Route Q-44: Flushing and Jamaica" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. p. 10. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  30. ^ "WHITESTONE SPAN OPENED BY MAYOR; New Bronx-Long Island Link Hailed as Symbol of City's Never-Ending Progress". The New York Times. April 30, 1939. Retrieved November 4, 2007. 
  31. ^ "New Bus Service In Bronx: Line Starts From West Farms Square and Runs to World's Fair". The New York Times. July 2, 1939. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  32. ^ "New Bus Setup Links Bronx Span and Borough Hall: North Shore Extension Gives Service Via Flushing Center" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. October 25, 1940. p. 10. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  33. ^ "Bus Service to Whitestone" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. October 25, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  34. ^ a b "Estates Buses Abandon Jamaica Terminal Stop" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. December 16, 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  35. ^ "College Point Buses Ready" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. June 30, 1939. p. 26. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  36. ^ a b North Shore Bus Company (February 1, 1946). "To Our Riders" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. p. 20. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  37. ^ Q17/20 Rollsign
  38. ^ "Bus Schedules Revised to Save Gas and Tires: Transit Commission Order Goes Into Effect June 8 on Queens Routes" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. May 27, 1942. p. 1. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  39. ^ North Shore Bus Company (January 24, 1947). "Notice of Change in Bus Schedules" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. p. 11. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  40. ^ Sparberg, Andrew J. (1 October 2014). From a Nickel to a Token: The Journey from Board of Transportation to MTA. Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-6190-1. 
  41. ^ "120-Passenger Vehicles Added For Next Week: 10 City Lines Will HAve All New Equipment by Wednesday" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. December 31, 1948. p. 2. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  42. ^ a b Mooney Jr., Joseph W. (February 1, 1957). "New Bus Schedules Will Force Some Riders to Transfer Twice" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. p. 1. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  43. ^ a b c Mooney Jr., Joseph W. (February 1, 1957). "New Bus Schedules Will Force Some Riders to Transfer Twice" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. p. 6. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  44. ^ "TA Gets Plea To Reinstate Bus Route" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. December 19, 1960. p. 5. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  45. ^ Mooney, Jr., Joseph W. (February 2, 1957). "Bus Cuts Begin at Midnight And Bayside Hills Won'y Like 'Em" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. p. 1. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  46. ^ "New Queens Bus route Hailed: Welcome Service to Park Area". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 4, 1942. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  47. ^ "TA Schedules Fair Buses" (PDF). Long Island Star-Journal. March 23, 1964. p. 3. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  48. ^ "2 New Bus Routes Will Link Brooklyn With World's Fair". The New York Times. February 5, 1964. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  49. ^ Penner, Larry (January 11, 2013). "Welcome back my old friend — the old Little Neck Parkway Q79 bus is now the Q36 bus". Queens Courier. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  50. ^ "AROUND THE BLOCK TOUGH BRAKE AS BUS CUTS BEGIN". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2015-12-31. 
  51. ^ a b c Bertrand, Donald (August 12, 1999). "ROUTE OF BUS TROUBLES TRANSIT CHANGES HURT SOME IN BRIARWOOD". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  52. ^ "Letters to the Editor: Appeals to Police for Traffic Relief" (PDF). Long Island Daily Press. April 28, 1938. p. 16. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  53. ^ a b "Introduction to BUS RAPID TRANSIT PHASE II" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 2009. 
  54. ^ a b "MTA 2008 Adopted Budget: February Financial Plan 2008-2011" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). February 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  55. ^ "Fordham Plaza: Conceptual Design Study" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation, New York City Economic Development Corporation. 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  56. ^ Block, Dorian (February 19, 2008). "Upgrades for crowded subway & buses". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  57. ^ Bertrand, Donald (February 25, 2008). "Summer hike in subway, bus services". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 26 December 2015. 
  58. ^ "BUS RAPID TRANSIT PHASE II: Future Corridors" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). June 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  59. ^ "Northeast Queens Bus Study" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). September 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  60. ^ Rafter, Domenick (October 24, 2013). "CB 9 articulates ire on articulated buses". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  61. ^ "Flushing to Jamaica Select Bus Service Stakeholder Meeting June 11, 2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York), New York City Department of Transportation. June 11, 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  62. ^ Toure, Madina (January 22, 2015). "NE Queens leaders wary of Select Bus Service proposal". Times Ledger. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  63. ^ "Flushing to Jamaica Select Bus Service Public Workshop October 7, 2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Authority (New York), New York City Department of Transportation. October 7, 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  64. ^ "Effective November 29: Q44 Select Bus Service". Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York). 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 

External links[edit]