A Jamaica-bound Q17 bus at Main Street near Roosevelt Avenue.
|System||MTA Regional Bus Operations|
|Operator||New York City Transit Authority|
|Communities served||Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Utopia, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica|
|Start||Flushing – 39th Avenue and 138th Street / Main Street station|
|Via||Kissena Boulevard, Horace Harding Expressway, 188th Street, Hillside Avenue|
|End||Jamaica – Archer Avenue and Merrick Boulevard|
|Length||5.5 miles (8.9 km)|
|Operates||24 hours[note 1]|
|Annual patronage||5,138,621 (2017)|
The Q17 bus route constitutes a public transit line in Queens, New York City, United States, running primarily along Kissena Boulevard, the Long Island Expressway service road (Horace Harding Expressway) and 188th Street between two major bus-subway hubs in the neighborhoods of Jamaica and Flushing. It is one of the busiest local bus routes in Queens. Operated by the North Shore Bus Company until 1947, the route is now operated by MTA Regional Bus Operations under the New York City Transit brand.
Route description and service
The Q17 begins at Archer Avenue and Merrick Boulevard at Jamaica Center in downtown Jamaica, just south of the 165th Street Bus Terminal. This terminus is shared with the Q20A/B and Q44 buses. The Q17 proceeds north along 168th Street to Hillside Avenue, then east along Hillside to 188th Street. The route continues north on 188th Street through Jamaica Estates and Utopia to the Long Island Expressway (LIE) at the Fresh Meadows shopping center. The segment on 188th Street between 73rd Avenue and the LIE is shared with the Q88. Both routes turns west onto the LIE's service road, Horace Harding Expressway, until Kissena Boulevard, where the Q17 turns north. The Q88 continues along Horace Harding to Queens Center Mall. The Q17 proceeds north along Kissena, sharing the road with the Q25 and Q34 buses to Main Street in Downtown Flushing (also known as Flushing Chinatown). The Q17 alights its final passengers on 39th Avenue, at the Main Street subway station. Terminating Q17 and Q27 buses proceed east along 39th Avenue, lay over on 138th Street, then return along 37th Avenue to pick up southbound passengers at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
During weekday midday hours and weekday rush hours in the peak direction (AM to Flushing; PM to Jamaica), alternate southbound local service terminates at 188th Street and Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows. During weekday rush hours, bi-directional limited-stop service is operated along the full route between Jamaica and Flushing.
The original Q17 route ran along Homelawn Street, Utopia Parkway, and Fresh Meadow Lane between Hillside Avenue and Horace Harding, passing by St. John's University. This route is now covered by the Q30 (formerly the Q17A) and the Q31.
The Q17 was originally operated by the Flushing Heights Bus Company, which began operating circa 1928. In 1931, the New York City Board of Estimate was deciding which bus route franchises would be given to which private operators. Along with thirty other bus routes, the Q17 was tentatively assigned to the North Shore Bus Company, as part of Zone B (Flushing and Northern Queens).
The North Shore Bus Company acquired the franchises to the Flushing Heights Bus routes on September 22, 1935, but the two companies did not merge. As part of the transaction, North Shore expected to get the franchises for both the Q17 and Q25 from the city. North Shore was only allowed to keep the Q17 route, and as compensation, the city assured them of a new route between Flushing and Jamaica via Main Street. This route would go into service when a bridge was built to carry Main Street over the Grand Central Parkway in 1938; this route is today's Q44.
On July 1, 1939, the Q17 became interlined with the Q20, meaning that north of Flushing the bus would continue via the Q20 route to College Point. The service was designated "Q17-20" or "Q20-17" and rollsigns would display Q17/20. On December 16, 1940, the Q17-20 route's southern terminal was moved from the 165th Street Bus Terminal to the intersection of 168th Street and Jamaica Avenue, three blocks east. The route been running to the 165th Street Terminal since North Shore took the terminal over in mid-1939. 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. Service north of 14th Avenue was restored on February 4, 1946. The Q20 was separated from the Q17 during off-peak "base period" hours on January 27, 1947. In March of that year, North Shore Bus would be taken over by the New York City Board of Transportation (later the New York City Transit Authority), making the bus routes city operated. 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.
On December 11, 1988, when the Archer Avenue Line opened, the Q17's southern terminal was moved one block east and south to Archer Avenue and Merrick Boulevard. Limited-stop service during peak hours began on September 8, 2003. Limited-stop service was estimated to save riders traveling longer distances five minutes, and was provided by alternate Q17 trips. The locations of limited stops were made because they were in most case high volume transfer points, have high ridership and are spaced out to allow limited-stop service to run more quickly than local service. This change was announced in May 2003, and was presented to the NYC Transit Committee of the MTA Board on June 17, 2003. In August 2014, the northern layover area of the Q17 and Q27 was shifted from Prince Street west of Main Street near St. George's Church, to 39th Avenue and 138th Street east of Main Street.
- Q17 Limited only operates bi-directionally during weekday rush hours
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- Q17/20 Rollsign
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- Media related to Q17 (New York City bus) at Wikimedia Commons