Friday, January 18, 2008

The Q102: Northtown's Transportation Safety Valve

Earlier this week there was another of those very cold days when we were waiting at the southbound bus stop outside the Church of the Good Shepherd when an Octagon Express went by barely half full. Sometimes you wish that on days like that that the driver be given the discretion to "go local" and pick up obviously frozen residents.

As much as Northtowners complain about Octagon Express buses they actually have a safety valve that Octagoners and residents of Manhattan Park don't have: the Q102.

The Q102 begins its Roosevelt Island run by heading South once it makes the turn off the bridge ramp. So except for a few passengers already on the bus it usually starts its run at Westview essentially empty and can be counted on for space on cold and rainy days for most Northtowners.

The Q102 after completing it's initial Southbound run from Westview all the way down to the Goldwater Hospital Campus only then threads its way North on Main Street to its Northern terminus at Coler Hospital. After departing Coler it only goes back down Main Street to 2-4-6 River Road and then exits the Island.

In effect, Octagoners and Manhattan Park residents are denied this safety valve.

So when I hear folks complaining about the Octagon Express I usually have to catch myself before joining them as I know if the Q102s are running Northtowners can always get on if their destination is the subway or Tram.


As pointed out to me in the comments I was not aware that the Q102's route on the Island switches between the bus (1) first heading to Coler then to Goldwater and then off Island and (2) first heading to Goldwater then to Coler and then off Island. Teaches me to not check the schedule first. Thank you for the comments and corrections. The main intent of the post stays the same that the Q102 does indeed provide an extra measure of service on the Island and at least half of the scheduled trips the extra service gives Northtowners the ability to enter buses not already filled by their Octagon neighbors.


  1. I don't understand all these complaints about the Octagon Express bus (see especially one of the letters to the editor in the current Wire). Management up there paid for the service so be it.

    Instead of complaining about this somebody should tell the RIOC that they should run the buses a little more often during rush hours instead. Every 5 minutes or so.

  2. the 102 does not run as you described... or is not SUPPOSED to! you must look at the marquee: if it says coler/goldwater it will go north, then south, then exit the island; if it says goldwater/coler, it goes south, north, then off island. the driver will usually tell you "going off island!" in case you didn't want to, and wanted the subway instead.
    and yes, becker is said to be paying for the octagon express bus (tho i haven't seen a legal contract or anything), so all the islanders can quit bitching, or go back to having FULL BUSSES from the octagon each trip like they used to.

    ps - as for the recent wire letter about the horrible manners octagoners have, i must say that the bus riders who STAND IN THE FRONT DOORWAY and will NOT MOVE when you try to get on or off always seem to disembark before manhattan park. there are a lot of jerks at the octagon, but there are plenty of asshats in the older building, too.

    so there.

  3. oh, and the one reason we don't use the 102 to get to the tram: if you have a pay-as-you-go card like me, you burn the transfer getting on the tram, and have to pay again when you get to a subway or bus on manhattan. $4.00 to get to my destination vs. $2.25.

    monthly passers, have at it!

  4. Craig -

    I never noticed the different Goldwater/Coler or Coler/Goldwater designation. In the morning we only take it from the Church to the Tram so never paid attention.

    My "route arrows" were based on a single trip where we used the Q102 to go of Island (we got on at the Church heading South) and were taken on a tour of South then North to Coler and then South and Off Island which added at least 25 minutes to our trip. We had expected it to go South to Goldwater then back North to the ramp and off. And that is what I based on my post on as I thought that route was standard.

    As for the fixed price Metrocard thing I can understand that fully. As I only buy the monthly unlimiteds (we average about $1 per ride as we use them so much) that we always get the transfer to the Tram and later to an M15 all without burning through a card.

    Your points are well taken. I will look ito the route differences more.

    Thanks, Eric

  5. I think when the 102 is heading south, it stops in front of 2 River Road, if not there, then in front of the school. If so, Manhattan Park people have access to it.

  6. Geez would you people stop trashing the people who live at the Octagon so much.... it is unbecoming of your ostensible egalitarian ideas. Or, wait, maybe this island is only for losers who have to have gov't assistance with their housing.

  7. As a loser living in a WIRE building, it was good to hear a Republican point of view.

    Why can't the Octagon Express make one additional stop by the Church (which is not my stop). By the time the other buses get there in the morning they are usually full. It will not add more than two minutes to the time of the Express Stop and will allow intermingling between the haves and us losers.

  8. If the Octagon management is paying for the red bus express service nothing can be said against it. That's the way it is.

    The only way to get the capacity under control are: a) walk!!! there is no need for most of us to use the bus during rush hours. Leave the bus to the people who need it (kids, elderlies, disabled folks, etc.) and walk instead (btw, this applies to the elevator at the subway station, too. It is ridiculous that the people who actually NEED the elevator never get room in it). b) increase the number of buses and install some technology that prevents bunching.

    I do not live in the Octagon but I think the recent letter about the residents of said building is a shame. Don't blame the tenants for the shortcomings of the building's developers and management. Only kids from the Octagon put their shoes on the seats? How about the folks that block the entrance in front and don't let anybody pass anymore? There is always so much room in the back of the bus but, *shocker* it actually requires walking up a step or two.

    Idiots are everywhere. Up there in the Octagon, in Manhattan Park, everywhere. Can we all live together for goodness sake?