Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards buses

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For additional information on the current bus services, see List of bus routes in Queens.
Q11 / Q21 / Q52 Limited / Q53 Limited
Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards line
MTA NYC logo.svg
MTA Bus Company Orion VII 3614 on the Q53.JPG
A Q53 Orion VII bus in Queens.
System MTA Regional Bus Operations
Operator MTA Bus Company
Garage JFK Depot / Far Rockaway Depot (Q11, Q21, Q52)
LaGuardia Depot (Q53)

Q11, Q21, Q52:


Began service 1918 (Q11)
1923 (Q21)
1950 (Q53)
2012 (Q52)
Locale Queens
Communities served Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel, Rockaway Beach/Hammels, Rockaway Park, Arverne
Start Q53: Woodside – 61st Street
Q11, Q21, Q52: Elmhurst – Woodhaven Bl station / Queens Center
Via Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards
End Q11: Old Howard Beach or Hamilton Beach
Q21: Howard Beach – 164th Avenue
Q52: Arverne – Beach 69th St/Beach 67th St
Q53: Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street
Length 14 miles (23 km) (Q53)[1]
13.7 miles (22.0 km) (Q52)[2][3]
6 miles (9.7 km) (Q21; Queens Boulevard to 165 Av)[4]
Operates 24 hours (Q11, Q53)[note 1][5][6]
Daily ridership Q11: 1,456,067 (2014)[7]
Q21: 959,520 (2014)[7]
Q52: 1,634,018 (2014)[7]
Q53: 5,140,345 (2014)[7]
Fare $2.75 (MetroCard or coins)
Cash Coins only (exact change required)
Transfers Yes
Timetable Q11/Q21 Q52/Q53
Route map
 Q53 LTD  northern terminus
61st Street / Roosevelt Avenue
75th Street / Broadway
78th Street–Baxter Avenue
Whitney Avenue
Queens Blvd / Broadway / Grand Av
 Q11  Q21  Q52 LTD  northern terminus
Woodhaven Blvd / Hoffman Dr southbound
Woodhaven Blvd / Queens Blvd
northbound (Q53)
drop-off (Q11, Q21, Q52)
Wetherole Street
61st Road–Alderton Street
62nd Road
63rd Road–Penelope Avenue
Furmanville Avenue
66th Avenue–66th Road
68th Avenue
Metropolitan Avenue
81st Road–81st Avenue
Myrtle Avenue
Forest Park Drive
85th Road
Jamaica Avenue
89th Avenue
91st Avenue
Atlantic Avenue
97th Avenue
101st Avenue
Rockaway Boulevard
Sutter Avenue
Linden Boulevard
Pitkin Avenue
 Q11  to and from Howard Beach
149th Avenue
 Q21  local via Lindenwood
 Q21  local via Lindenwood
157th Avenue
159th Avenue
 Q21  local from Howard Beach
161st Avenue
163rd Avenue
 Q21  local to Howard Beach
Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge
Wildlife Refuge
Noel Road
15th/16th Road
Cross Bay Bridge
Beach 96th Street
Beach 98th Street
Beach 101st Street
Beach 102nd Street
Beach 105th Street
Beach 110th Street
Beach 116th Street  Q53 LTD  southern terminus
Beach 91st Street
Beach 86th Street
Beach 81st Street
Beach 73rd Street
Beach 67th Street  Q52 LTD  southern terminus
← Q10
 {{{system_nav}}}  Q12
Q54 →

The Q11, Q21, Q52, and Q53 bus routes constitute a public transit corridor running along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards in Queens, New York City, United States. The corridor extends primarily along the length of the two boulevards through "mainland" Queens, a distance of 6 miles (9.7 km)[4] between Elmhurst and the Jamaica Bay shore in Howard Beach. The Q52 and Q53 buses, which provide limited-stop service along the corridor, continue south across Jamaica Bay to the Rockaway peninsula, one of the few public transit options between the peninsula and the rest of the city.

The Q11 and Q21 were formerly privately operated by Green Bus Lines, and the Q53 was formerly operated by Triboro Coach, under subsidized franchises with the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT). All four routes are currently operated under the MTA Bus Company brand of MTA Regional Bus Operations. Since 2008, the Woodhaven-Cross Bay corridor has undergone studies for Select Bus Service (SBS) implementation, which would convert the Q52 and Q53 into bus rapid transit routes.[8][9] The first phase of the project is expected to begin service in 2017.[1][4]

Route description[edit]

A Woodside-bound Q53 bus in front of Queens Center, where the other three buses of the corridor terminate.

The Q11, Q21, Q52, and Q53 all share a route along majority of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, between Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst and Pitkin Avenue in Ozone Park. The Q11 and Q21 provide local service, while the Q52 and Q53 provide limited-stop service and extend into the Rockaways.[3][5][6][10] The Q11 and Q21 originally corresponded to the northern (Woodhaven) and southern (Cross Bay) portions of the Boulevard respectively, while the Q53 originally made no stops along the corridor.[11][12][13] The corridor parallels the former Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, whose northern half remains inactive and whose southern half was reactivated for rapid transit service as the IND Rockaway Line of the New York City Subway.[14]

Except for the Q53, all buses along the corridor end northbound service at Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard, at the Woodhaven Boulevard subway station of the IND Queens Boulevard Line and at the foot of Queens Center mall. Buses reenter service in a dedicated bus stop area on Hoffman Drive adjacent to the south side of Queens Boulevard. The Q53 serves these stops on its through service to or from Woodside.[5][6][10]


The Q11 begins at Queens Boulevard, and runs down the entire length of Woodhaven Boulevard and a short portion of Cross Bay Boulevard to Pitkin Avenue. The route then turns east along Pitkin, then south along several local streets through the eastern portion of Howard Beach, running near Aqueduct Racetrack and the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station of the IND Rockaway Line subway and AirTrain JFK. At 160th Avenue, the route splits into two branches; a western branch to Old Howard Beach and an eastern branch to Hamilton Beach (the two neighborhoods are separated by Hawtree Creek). Both terminate near the southern coast of their respective neighborhoods at 165th Avenue.[5][10][12][15][16] Select weekday rush hour trips short-turn at Pitkin Avenue.[5] During late night hours, all Q11 trips terminate at Pitkin Avenue;[5] prior to 2010, 24-hour service had been provided to Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach.[17][18][19][20][21]

The original Q11 route served both Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach as a single branch. After running to 165th Avenue in Old Howard Beach, it crossed a bridge (no longer present) over Hawtree Creek, then ran north in Hamilton Beach to 102nd Street and Russell Street.[22][23]


The Q21 begins at Queens Boulevard, and provides local service along the entire length of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards in "mainland" Queens. Between Conduit Avenue and 157th Avenue near the Belt Parkway, the Q21 turns west and runs on several local streets to provide service to the neighborhood of Lindenwood; the routing is labeled as "via Lindenwood". The route terminates near the Jamaica Bay shore at 164th Avenue in Howard Beach. The Q21 runs less frequently than the Q11, and does not operate overnights.[5][10][11][24]

Prior to the MTA takeover, the Q21's northern terminus was at Liberty Avenue, and the route provided service between "mainland" Queens and the Rockaways via the Q53 routing, terminating at the current Flight 587 memorial at the Rockaway Beach Boardwalk.[2][3][12][15][16][25] In 2008, the route was extended north along Woodhaven Boulevard.[26][27] In January 2012, the Q21 was rerouted to Arverne and a limited-stop branch was added. This limited-stop service became the Q52 in July 2012, and the Q21 was subsequently truncated to Howard Beach.[2][3][24][28][29]

The Q21 previously had an additional branch called the Q21A, which provided service between Brooklyn and the Rockaways. This route began at the New Lots Avenue subway station in the New Lots subsection of East New York, Brooklyn. It ran east along Linden Boulevard, then south along Cross Bay Boulevard to the Rockaways.[22][25][30][31][32] Unlike the Q21, the Q21A traveled east to Far Rockaway at the Mott Avenue subway station, a total distance of 13 miles (21 km). The route initially used Beach Channel Drive east of the Cross Bay Bridge, later using Rockaway Beach Boulevard/Edgemere Avenue (adjacent to the Rockaway Freeway).[22][25][30][33] The Q21A was discontinued[34] around 1990 due to poor ridership.

A second branch, the Q21B, ran from New Lots Avenue non-stop to Beach 98th Street at the Rockaways' Playland amusement park. It then made stops in Rockaway Park and Neponsit before terminating at the beaches of Jacob Riis Park on the western portion of the peninsula. This route only operated during the summer months of 1936.[35][36]


The Q21 Limited service was split off into a separate route, the Q52, in July 2012.[29] It begins at Queens Boulevard and runs down the entire length of Woodhaven and Cross Bay Bouevards through "mainland" Queens, making limited stops. It then crosses the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge onto the island of Broad Channel within the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where it makes several stops. It then crosses the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge onto the Rockaway peninsula in the neighborhood of Hammels, where it turns east onto Rockaway Beach Boulevard and runs a short distance before terminating in Arverne at Beach 69th Street. Q52s reenter service two blocks east at the Beach 67th Street station.[6][10]

As part of the planned conversion of the route into Select Bus Service, it has been proposed to extend the Q52 east to Far Rockaway.[1][4][37]


The Q53 is the longest of the four routes, running a distance of 14 miles (23 km).[1] It begins in Woodside, at the 61st Street subway station of the IRT Flushing Line and the Woodside LIRR station. The route then runs east along Roosevelt Avenue and Broadway, before joining the other three routes at Woodhaven Boulevard and Queens Boulevard and following the Q52's limited-stop service pattern through mainland Queens and Broad Channel. After crossing Jamaica Bay and entering the Rockaway peninsula, the Q53 turns west on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and terminates at the Beach 116th Street station of the IND Rockaway Line in Rockaway Park.[1][4][6][10][15][16][38]

Created as a replacement for LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch service in the 1950s,[39][40] the Q53 originally was labeled as an express service. It made stops at the Woodside LIRR station, Roosevelt Avenue / 74th Street subway station, Grand Avenue station, and 63rd Drive subway station (near the former Rego Park LIRR station) before running non-stop to Broad Channel and the Rockaways.[11][15][16][38][41][42][43][44] Under the MTA, limited-stop service along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard was added in 2006[38] and overnight service was added in 2013.[45]

Originally operating from the LaGuardia Depot (the former Triboro Coach depot) in East Elmhurst,[46] the Q53 was later operated out of the College Point Depot (the former Queens Surface Corporation facility).[47] It went back to LaGuardia Depot on January 8, 2017.

Express bus service[edit]

A QM15 in Midtown Manhattan.

In addition to local and limited-stop service, four bus routes (QM15, QM16, QM17, BM5) provide express bus service to Manhattan via the Woodhaven and Cross Bay corridor. The QM16 and QM17 provide service to the Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel, beginning in Neponsit (west) and Far Rockaway (east) respectively. They then make stops along Cross Bay Boulevard into Howard Beach, before running non-stop to Manhattan north of the Belt Parkway. The QM15 begins at Cross Bay Boulevard and 157th Avenue (with select runs beginning in eastern Howard Beach near Aqueduct Racetrack), and runs the Lindenwood route of the Q21 before making stops along the rest of the corridor. The BM5, which originates in Starrett City, Brooklyn, also serves the corridor north of Conduit Avenue. All four routes proceed onto the Long Island Expressway at the interchange near Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.[10][48]

Other bus routes[edit]

The Q41 follows the Q21's route via Cross Bay Boulevard and Lindenwood between 164th Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard. It then proceeds east on Rockaway Boulevard and several local streets towards the 165th Street Bus Terminal in Downtown Jamaica, where many former Green Lines routes terminate.[10][11][12]


A MCI Classic bus (now retired) on the Q11 laying over near Queens Center.

The Q11 began service in 1918 under Liberty Bus Transportation, also known as New York City Department of Plant & Structures Route 64, between Woodhaven and Howard/Hamilton Beach.[49][50][51] The Q21 began service in 1923. In 1926, it became a route of the Queens Auto Traction Corporation, running between Jamaica Avenue (at the Woodhaven Boulevard station of the BMT Jamaica Line) and Beach 95th Street at the foot of the bridge from Broad Channel.[49][52] By the early 1930s, the Q21 became a franchise of Green Bus Lines, and was extended to Rockaway Park.[13][32][53] In 1934, the Q21A franchise between East New York and the Rockaways was awarded to Green Lines.[32] On June 15, 1936, the Q21B began service between Brooklyn and Riis Park.[35][36] That year, Green Lines would take over the operations of Liberty Bus, with the company awarded the rights to all of "Zone C" in southern Queens (including Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Howard Beach, and the Rockaways).[49][54][55] The Q11 began operations under Green Lines on November 15, 1936.[56] When the Marine Parkway Bridge between Brooklyn and the western Rockaways was opened in 1937, the Q21B was replaced with the Q35.[57] In 1948, Green Lines applied for an extension of the Q21A to the Euclid Avenue subway station which opened that November; this was rejected by the New York City Board of Transportation in December.[58]

On May 8, 1950, a major fire occurred on the wooden trestle of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch over Jamaica Bay, ending direct rail service to the Rockaway peninsula.[14][59][60] On June 25, Triboro Coach (owned by Green Lines' shareholders)[61] began operating replacement bus service from the Woodside LIRR station to Rockaway Park on a temporary grant from the city.[39][40][62][63] The Q53 officially began service on June 28, 1956.[49] It later gained popularity as a route from mainland Queens to Rockaway Beach and Rockaways' Playland during summer months,[42][44] as did the Q21 and Q21A.[64]

On January 9, 2006, the MTA Bus Company took over the operations of the Green Lines routes, part of the city's takeover of all the remaining privately operated bus routes. On February 20, 2006, the city took over the operations of Triboro Coach.[61][65][66] Shortly after the takeover, in April 2006 the Q53 express was converted into limited-stop service, adding six stops along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards.[38] In January 2007, the Q53 was routed away from the 63rd Drive subway station, running the entire length of Woodhaven and Cross Bay.[41][67] On August 31, 2008, the Q21 was extended north along Woodhaven Boulevard.[3][26][27] These service changes led to an increase in ridership along the corridor.[2][3]

On September 12, 2010, late night service on the Q11 was truncated to Pitkin Avenue.[21]

A Q52 Limited entering service at Hoffman Drive.

On January 8, 2012, the Q21 was rerouted from Rockaway Park to Arverne to serve the growing "Arverne by the Sea" development. A limited-stop branch of the Q21 was also created, running during weekday rush hours and bypassing the Lindenwood section of the route.[2][28][29][68] On July 1, 2012, several major changes took place along the corridor.[19][20][24][29] The Q21 limited branch was converted into the Q52 Limited, and expanded to seven days a week. The Q21, meanwhile, was truncated to Howard Beach.[3][24][29] Overnight service on the Q11 to Hamilton Beach after 10:00 PM was eliminated, due to low passenger usage during those times.[19][20] In addition, two additional limited stops for the Q52 and Q53 were added along Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, closing a gap in service previously filled by the Q21.[3][24] On September 8, 2013, overnight service was added to the Q53 due to increasing ridership on the route.[45][69]

For a short period of time after Hurricane Sandy in late-2012 and 2013, additional service was provided on the Q52 route, including the use of 60-foot (18 m) articulated buses (typically assigned to the Q10).[70][71]

Select Bus Service[edit]

In 2004, the Woodhaven-Cross Bay corridor was one of 12 Queens bus corridors studied under the city's bus rapid transit (BRT) study.[48] Beginning on January 4, 2008, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) conducted an 18-month study on Woodhaven Boulevard as part of the city's Congested Corridors Project to improve congested and dangerous roadways. One of the short-term recommendations of the study was to implement bus rapid transit along the corridor.[1][8][9][72][73] In June 2010, the Woodhaven-Cross Bay corridor was added to the list of potential corridors for Phase II of Select Bus Service, the MTA's brand of BRT service.[74][75]

Preliminary designs began in 2013[76] and were released in March 2014.[77] The first bus lanes were installed in August 2015, on the north end of Woodhaven Boulevard between Dry Harbor Road and Metropolitan Avenue.[1][4] The Q52 and Q53 SBS routes are scheduled to begin service in 2017, with the remaining bus lanes and street improvements to be implemented in stages afterwards.[1][4]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1977 song "Rockaway Beach" by Forest Hills-based band the Ramones references the bus ride to the Rockaways on the Q53.[77]


  1. ^ "Q21 and Q52 operate all times except late nights". 


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