I got an email yesterday from an anonymous reader:
Today I decided to take the Q79 up to Panera Bread in Douglaston and do a little work on my laptop. I started at the "Group Ride Vehicle Stop" at the corner of Little Neck Parkway and Jericho Turnpike.
After I'd been waiting there for about fifteen minutes, a man walked up and introduced himself as the owner of the van company! He said that there would be a van along within five minutes, and called the driver on his cell phone to make sure. In a few minutes the van pulled up and off I went. That's what I call personal service!
We didn't pick up any other passengers along the way, but the driver was friendly and professional, and the van was reasonably comfortable. The driver was frustrated that the city had let so much time pass between the cancellation of Q79 service and the beginning of the van pilot. He pointed out that there was a fair at the Farm Museum today, and said he had brought people there earlier, but nobody wanted a ride on this run.
Before, while we were waiting for the van, the owner said that business had been slow, but that he was committed to making it work. He's currently running two vans on the line, and since it takes 15-20 minutes to go from one end to the next, that means that the headway is about 15-20 minutes. He said that as business picks up, he hopes to increase that to four vans.
I gave him the address of your blog, and your email address, as well. I would have taken a van home, but it was after 6PM so I had to walk part of the way!
Thanks for the report, and thanks to the owner of Alpha Van Lines for sharing that info with our tipster! If anyone has more news about the vans, feel free to drop me a line.