Getting to La Guardia Airport by public transportation has never been a picnic.
The local subway station is three miles away, and the bus from it to the airport takes flight-catchers on a slow-motion tour of some nice residential blocks in Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst.
The only bus from Manhattan, the M60, clocks in at 2.7 miles an hour as it plods along 125th Street. And from Fordham Plaza in the Bronx, the expedition on the Bx15 and the M60 takes 83 minutes, or about the flight time from La Guardia to Toronto.
On Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city announced plans to make the ride to the nation’s 20th-busiest airport a little bit easier.
The M60 will be blessed with Select Bus Service, which involves paying before boarding, bus-only lanes and technological gadgetry that are expected to shave about 10 minutes off a trip. Within Queens, a whole new bus route, an alternative to the poky Q33 bus from the local subway station, at 74th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, will zip (relatively) along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, shortening the ride by 15 minutes.
And Select Bus Service on a proposed extension of the Bx41 from Fordham Plaza, across the R.F.K. Bridge to Queens, is expected to cut the ride nearly in half, to a toe-tapping 43 minutes.
The authority’s chairman, Joseph J. Lhota, said in a statement, “Select Bus Service to the airport will make La Guardia more convenient for travelers as well as airport workers” — there are more than 8,000 of them — “and that means a boost for the entire New York economy.”
The new service (see map here or below) is expected to be rolled out in 2013 and 2014.
If you’re waiting for a train to the plane, though, keep waiting. Plans to extend the N subway line from Astoria to the airport were shelved in 2003 in the face of neighborhood opposition and post-9/11 reprioritizing of transit resources. There are no plans on the table to revive the proposal, officials said.