Q3 (New York City bus)
|Farmers Boulevard – JFK Airport|
A Q3 bus stopped within John F. Kennedy Airport.
|System||MTA Regional Bus Operations|
|Operator||New York City Transit Authority|
|Communities served||Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens|
|Start||Jamaica, Queens – 165th Street Bus Terminal Bay 1|
|Via||Hillside Avenue, Farmers Boulevard|
|End||JFK International Airport – Terminal 5|
|Daily ridership||3,101,830 (2015)|
|Fare||$2.75 (MetroCard or coins)|
|Cash||Coins only (exact change required)|
Route description and service
The Q3 starts from Bay 1 at the 165th Street Bus Terminal in Jamaica, Queens. It then goes via Hillside Avenue, until it turns south onto Farmers Boulevard via either 187th Place or 188th Street based on the direction of travel. The route continues through the neighborhoods of Hollis, stopping at the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station there. It then passes through St. Albans, before stopping at the LIRR station at Locust Manor. Then it continues, passing through Springfield Gardens before finally crossing Rockaway Boulevard, and then entering John F. Kennedy International Airport via North Boundary Road, passing by the North Cargo Area and Central Terminal Area before terminating at Terminal 5, where a connection to the AirTrain JFK is available.
A majority of the ridership of the Q3 is formed from airport employees from JFK. Upon the route's extension to JFK Airport, more riders began to use the Q3, there were increased employment opportunities in Queens, airport hires were encouraged to move to Queens, and road congestion was relieved.
The bus was originally operated by the Saint Albans Improvement Association by permit. The route was put under the supervision of the New York City Department of Plant & Structures in 1921 and it was established as Route 76, Saint Albans–Hollis–Jamaica on March 27, 1922. The route ran from Saint Marks Avenue, now 119th Avenue, via Farmers Avenue, Seminole Avenue and Villard Avenue, which are both now 190th Street, and Hillside Avenue to Union Hall Street.
Because the majority of the Q3's route ran via Farmers Boulevard, it was known as the Farmers Boulevard Line.
The Q3 Hillside Avenue-Farmers Blvd bus was then transferred to Bee Line Bus in 1923. Bee Line originally operated from 163rd Street and Jamaica Avenue in the Jamaica business district. On October 1, 1930, the Bee Line routes began terminating at the newly constructed Jamaica Union Bus Terminal near its former terminus. The new bus terminal was located at Jamaica Avenue and New York Boulevard (now Guy R. Brewer Boulevard), adjacent to the now-closed Union Hall Street Long Island Rail Road station.
On August 11, 1936, the Bee-Line routes were moved to the newly opened 165th Street Bus Terminal (then the Long Island Bus Terminal). In May 1939, Bee-Line relinquished its Queens routes. The bus was assumed by the North Shore Bus Company on May 22, 1939. These routes began operation from the terminal under North Shore Bus Company on June 25, 1939, as part of the company's takeover of nearly all routes in Zone D (Jamaica and Southeast Queens). The route was extended to Rockaway Boulevard on July 1, 1939. The route was cut back to the 165th Street Bus Terminal from 163rd Street and Jamaica Avenue on October 27, 1939.
Q3 service was extended from Rockaway Boulevard to JFK International Airport on December 6, 1987. Prior to the extension, the Q3 only operated during weekday morning and evening peak periods. However, once the route was extended, the route was expanded to 21 hours per day, 7 days a week. This extension was not designed for air travelers, as evident by the route's roundabout routing, but it was instead intended for airport employees, those at JFK Airport. In the areas of southeast Queens where the Q3 operates, there is a high concentration of airport workers, and before the extension, they had no direct access via public transportation. The headways during peak-periods were shortened from 20–25 minutes to 15 minutes, and new midday, evening, and weekend service was provided every 30 minutes. The new extensions, was extensively advertised through the use of brochures and timetables, which were the first for a local bus in Queens. These were distributed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to its employees at JFK, and articles were written about the extension in airport newspapers and newsletters. All households in southeast Queens got mailings. A special inaugural bus with local dignitaries ran on December 6, 1987, with a celebration at JFK. Additional service was added to the route because of increased patronage of the route. A majority of the people who started using the Q3 to get to the airport previously to travel by car.
24-hour service was added to the Q3 on April 11, 2004. At the same time, service to all JFK terminals except Terminal 4 was replaced by AirTrain JFK. The route's JFK Terminus was moved to Terminal 5 on May 30, 2012, due to construction at Terminal 4.
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