St. Albans native fights to restore much needed bus service in hometown

Despite moving to Forest Hills, Danielle Brodnax still loves her native St. Albans and continues to visit her family and the church that she was raised in, but getting there has been a hardship because of the lack of service from the Q42 bus service, especially on the weekend.

“My grandmother has been in that neighborhood since 1957 and the bus goes through Jamaica and St. Albans,” said Brodnax.

There is no bus service from the Q42 on the weekends and during the week the service stops after 8 p.m., making it difficult for Brodnax and other former and current residents to travel for worship, work or simply just to get home.

“There is no other bus service that goes directly to that neighborhood, there is no dollar van – no nothing,” said Brodnax, who has taken up a letter-writing campaign with members from the Shiloh Baptist Church of Jamaica, which is on the bus route.

Brodnax says that about 50 percent of worshippers at her church are 55 and up, but the lack of transportation is not only for the churchgoers but also for anyone that relies on public transportation along that bus route.

“People who are elderly, people who have medical ailments – they are stuck in the neighborhood, they can’t go anywhere,” said Brodnax. “The Jamaica region is growing so much and is expanding so fast that there are more people, more buildings and more everything and it’s become a real hardship for those with limited mobility.”

The Q42 bus stop that leaves near the E, J and Z train stop on Archer Avenue stops across the street from the Shiloh Baptist Church, which is located at 173-70 106th Ave., according to Brodnax.

If Brodnax misses the bus after coming off the train after a long day of working in Manhattan, her 10-minute run for the Q42 ends up being an exhausting waste of time that results in her having to take the Q83 bus that goes from Jamaica and ends its trip in the neighboring town of Cambria Heights.

Even after catching that bus, Brodnax still has to walk another 10-minutes to get St. Albans, which is fine for her since she is fit, but she is concerned about those who are disabled or elderly who might not be able to make the trek, especially in inclement weather and late at night.

Brodnax even considered getting an affordable apartment back in her hometown earlier this year, but when she learned that the only bus route was the Q42 she has to pass on the potential new digs.

“I had to decline on that apartment and the rent there was pretty cheap,” said Brodnax, who splits her works in realty in L.I. and Manhattan. “It’s a nice area, but without a car, there is no way to go to and from certain places.”

After contacting Queens Borough President Melinda Katz earlier this year, her request to restore the weekend service for the Q42 was sent to MTA President Andy Byford.

“It is my priority to serve the residents of Queens,” said Katz. “My office will continue to update you as information regarding this matter is received from the MTA New York City Transit.”

The MTA’s response was lackluster, according to Brodnax.

“In 1995, Q42 bus weekend service was removed and the route was further modified in 2010 due to extremely low ridership,” said Craig Cipriano, the acting senior vice president of the Department of Buses for the MTA. “We have launched the comprehensive, ‘clean-slate’ redesign of the entire Queens bus network, which is part of a broader effort to rapidly bring reimagined bus service to the entire city’s bus network.”

Brodnax, who has already attended many community meetings and made public comments about the lack of service is supportive of the redesign movement, however, that doesn’t address the community’s immediate need for the bus, according to the St. Albans native.

“We need to have service restored a little bit later, even if it’s only until 10 p.m., because there are people that don’t work nine-to-five jobs, and we need it especially on the weekends,” said Brodnax.

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