A fast bus to LaGuardia Airport, maybe

LaGuardia Airport. (Paul Worthington via Flickr)
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The city Department of Transportation and the M.T.A. said today they are considering a rapid-bus service to the famously inconvenient LaGuardia Airport.

The topic arose during a City Council hearing on mass transit in the outer boroughs.

During his testimony, Bruce Schaller, the city's deputy commissioner for traffic and planning, said D.O.T. is looking at improvements to three bus corridors: Webster Avenue in the Bronx and Utica Avenue in Brooklyn, as well as "providing better bus service at Laguardia Airport."

Right now, mass transit options to LaGuardia are limited, complicated and slow. 

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Even so, some routes, particularly the M60 from Harlem to LaGuardia, are heavily used. When the route was launched in 1992, it ran every half hour for 15 hours a day, according to the M.T.A. Now it runs every five to seven minutes, 24 hours a day.

Following the first half of the hearing, the M.T.A. took questions from reporters on the topic.

"This is really focused on buses, bus to the airport, so SBS-type solutions," said the M.T.A.'s Peter Cafiero, referring to "Select Bus Service," the M.T.A. bus rapid transit brand.

Cafiero said they were looking at "fare-collection options that would speed boarding," among other things.

Ted Orosz, the director of long range bus planning at the M.T.A.'s New York City Transit, described some of the factors at play.

"You have workers who are served by the existing buses that go to LaGuardia, and then you have workers in places who live in places that aren't served by the existing buses to LaGuardia, then you have people going to LaGuardia—air travelers—who are coming from Manhattan, and air travelers who are coming from elsewhere in the city," he said. "So you analyze these different travel markets and you craft solutions to address the actual needs that are out there. And we've done a lot of survey work among air passengers, and employees and we're developing a good handle on what the travel problems are, and then we're gonna develop some solutions to address them."

Interim results of the study on transit to LaGuardia are expected this fall.