Much of Queens was developed later than the rest of New York City. Thus in most areas, the first public transportation routes created were bus routes, with fewer streetcar routes ever operating in Queens.
Prior to 1936, many bus routes were originally operated by various independent operators. A few early bus routes were temporarily operated under supervision by the New York City Department of Plant & Structures (DP&S). DP&S routes were assigned numbers in the order in which they were introduced, in all five boroughs. Some routes did not survive long and are not listed.
In 1936, Queens was divided into four zones, for bus operating franchise purposes. With the new zone setup, one company would be awarded the franchise in each zone, with any remaining smaller operations acquired by the larger company. Meanwhile, the bus companies which had evolved from street railway companies would continue to operate their routes.
The Steinway Railway had operated primarily in Astoria, while the two other street railways had operated over various distances throughout Queens. Former Steinway routes are now bus routes Q101-Q102-Q103-Q104, while former New York & Queens County routes are now bus routes Q65-Q66-Q67. In addition, the New York & North Shore Traction Co. existed from 1910 to 1920, operating east from Flushing paralleling Northern Blvd., with a branch operating north along 150th St. to Whitestone. Replacement bus service evolved to North Shore Bus Co. routes Q12 and Q14, now operated by the New York City Transit Authority.
A streetcar line was also operated by the Manhattan & Queens Traction Co. (M&Q), from Manhattan across the Queensboro Bridge into Woodside. In 1937, replacement bus service was operated by the Manhattan & Queens Bus Corp., which was acquired by Green Bus Lines in 1943, now route Q60.
The 1936 four zone setup for bus franchises was as follows. Zone A covered Woodside, and the franchise was awarded to Triboro Coach Corp. Zone B covered Flushing, and the franchise was awarded to the North Shore Bus Co. Zone C covered Ozone Park, and the franchise was awarded to Green Bus Lines, Inc. And Zone D covered Jamaica, and the franchise was intended to be awarded to the Bee Line. But due to various complications, the Zone D franchise was finally awarded to the North Shore Bus Co. in 1939.
Most of these private bus companies, including those which had replaced streetcar routes, continued to operate until 2006. Although subsidized by the New York City Department of Transportation. Only the North Shore Bus Co. failed, in 1947, resulting in the city takeover of the operations. Those routes are now operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA). Also listed with those routes is whether they were part of the Zone B or Zone D franchise.
In 2004, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) formed a new subsidiary, MTA Bus, to take over the remaining private bus operations in New York City. In February 2005, MTA Bus took over the operations of Queens Surface Corp. And in early 2006, MTA Bus took over the three remaining companies in Queens, all affiliated.
The following four private bus companies continued to operate in Queens until 2006. Two bus companies evolved from streetcar operations, which had been converted to buses in the 1930's. While the two other bus companies had been awarded the franchises with the 1936 four zone setup, for areas which never had streetcar routes.
Queens Surface Corp. - evolved from New York & Queens County Railway, which in 1932 had been succeeded by New York & Queens Transit Corp., and converted to buses in 1937 operated under the name Queens-Nassau Transit Lines, renamed Queens Transit Corp. in 1957. Also affiliated was the Steinway Railway, which became a separate company in the 1932 reorganization, and was reorganized again in 1938 as Steinway Transit, with replacement of streetcars with buses. Those companies were combined again in 1986, forming Queens/Steinway Transit Corp. Bus operations were sold in 1988 to Linden Bus Co., which then changed its name to Queens Surface Corp.
Jamaica Buses, Inc. - evolved from Long Island Electric Railway, which in 1926 had been succeeded by Jamaica Central Railways Co., and converted to buses in 1933.
Green Bus Lines, Inc. - had operated buses since 1925, awarded Ozone Park bus franchise in 1936.
Triboro Coach Corp. - had operated buses since 1925, awarded Woodside bus franchise in 1936.
The Bee Line and Schenck Transportation were based in suburban Long Island, continuing to operate there until the public takeover in 1973 of the Long Island buses.
Around 1989, several former Brooklyn routes which had operated through into Queens, were redesignated as Queens routes, with "Q" route numbers. All of these bus routes are former Brooklyn Rapid Transit streetcar routes. At the same time, route M32 became route Q32. And at the same time, NYCTA routes with suffix letters were renumbered to eliminate the suffix letters.
Route Route Operator Old Route Buses Original Number Name Until 2006 Number Introduced Company Q 1 Hillside NYCTA (D) Q 1 1914 Hillside Transportation Co. Q 2 Hollis Av NYCTA (D) Q 2 1919 St. Albans Imp. (DP&S Route 76) Q 3 Farmers Blvd NYCTA (D) Q 3 1919 St. Albans Imp. (DP&S Route 76) Q 4 Linden Blvd NYCTA (D) Q 4 1919 St. Albans Imp. (DP&S Route 72) Q 5 Merrick NYCTA (D) Q 5 4/21/22 Bee Line (DP&S Route 77) Q 6 Sutphin Blvd Green Q 6 7/19/22 Queens Bus Corp. Q 7 Rockaway Green Q 7 10/ 5/21 Ruoff brothers (DP&S Route 66) Q 8 101 Ave Green Q 8 4/15/33 Green Q 9 Lincoln Green Q 9 5/ 1/20 Ludwig Bilow (DP&S Route 55) Linden Blvd Green Q 9A 4/ 3/86 Green Q 10 Lefferts Blvd Green Q 10 4/29/21 Richmond Hill Bus (DP&S Route 53) Q 11 Woodhaven Blvd Green Q 11 1918 Liberty Bus (DP&S Route 64) Q 12 Northern Blvd NYCTA (B) Q 12 1921 Rauchwerger Little Neck Pkwy NYCTA Q 12A 6/ 4/50 NYCTA Q 13 Northern/Bell NYCTA (B) Q 13 3/14/20 Rauchwerger (DP&S Route 18) Union/149 St NYCTA (B) Q 14 1922 DP&S Q 15 150 St NYCTA (B) Q 15 4/ 3/24 Rauchwerger Q 15A 150 St 10 Av NYCTA (B) Q 14 8/ 2/20 Rauchwerger (DP&S Route 54) Q 16 Bayside/Willets NYCTA (B) Q 16 8/15/30 North Shore Q 17 Kissena/188 St NYCTA (B) Q 17 1928 Flushing Hts. Bus Co. Q 18 30 Ave Triboro Q 18 1925 Woodside-Astoria Trans. Q 19 Astoria Blvd Triboro Q 19 1933 Triboro Q 20A Union St/20 Av NYCTA (B) Q 44FS 2/15/32 North Shore Q 20B Union St/14 Av NYCTA (B) Q 44FS 2/15/32 North Shore Q 21 Cross Bay Blvd Green Q 21 1923 Queens Auto Traction Q 22 Rockaway Beach Green Q 22 1912 Long Island Coach Co. Bayswater Green Q 22A 1921 Q 23 108 St Triboro Q 23 1925 North Shore Q 24 Atlantic Av NYCTA B 22 1/15/50 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 25 Kissena/127 St Queens Q 25 1928 Flushing Hts. Bus Co. Q 26 46 Av/Hollis Ct NYCTA (B) Q 26 10/ 1/31 Z&M Coach Co. Q 27 46 Av/Rocky Hill NYCTA (B) Q 27 1926 Z&M Coach Co. Q 28 Northern/32 Av NYCTA (B) Q 28 4/ /28 North Shore Q 29 80 St Triboro Q 29 1921 Kings Coach Co. Q 30 Utopia/Harding NYCTA Q 17A 9/ 7/47 NYCTA Q 31 Utopia/Bell NYCTA (B) Q 31 1932 S&C Buses Q 32 Roosevelt/Fifth NYCTA M 32 1925 Fifth Avenue Coach Q 33 82 St Triboro Q 33 1/ 1/33 Municipal Motorbus Co. Q 34 Kissena/Willets Queens Q 34 4/ /33 Q 35 Newport Av Green Q 35 7/ 3/37 Q 36 Hillside NYCTA (D) Q 36 4/ /26 Schenck Trans. Q 37 111 St Green Q 37 1/ /39 General Omnibus Corp. Q 38 Eliot Triboro Q 38 6/ /34 Affilliated Transit Q 39 Forest Triboro Q 39 7/ /34 National City Bus Lines Q 40 142 St Green Q 40 2/ 5/34 Midland Coach Q 41 127 St Green Q 41 7/19/34 Courier Bus Co. Q 42 Addisleigh Park NYCTA (D) Q 42 3/27/34 North Branch Bus Q 43 Hillside Av NYCTA (D) Q 43 5/24/39 Schenck Trans. Q 44 Cross Bronx NYCTA Q 44 3/22/38 North Shore Vleigh Pl NYCTA Q 44VP 10/14/40 North Shore Q 46 Union Turnpike NYCTA Q 44A 12/ 4/39 North Shore Q 47 69 St Triboro Q 45 10/ 1/39 Triboro Q 47 74 St Triboro Q 47 10/ 1/39 Triboro Q 48 Ditmars/LGA NYCTA Q 48 3/31/40 North Shore Q 49 35 Ave Triboro Q 19B 1/ /38 Triboro Q 50 Co-op/Flushing QBx1 Q 52 Cross Bay/Woodh. new 1/ 2012 Q 53 Rockaway Park Triboro Q 53 6/28/56 Triboro Q 54 Metropolitan Av NYCTA B 53 6/12/49 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 55 Myrtle Av NYCTA B 55 4/26/50 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 56 Jamaica Av NYCTA B 56 11/30/47 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 58 Corona Av NYCTA B 58 7/17/49 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 59 Grand Av NYCTA B 59 12/11/49 Replace BMT Streetcar Q 60 Queens Blvd Green Q 60 4/17/37 Replace M&Q Streetcar Q 64 Jewel Ave Queens Q 65A 11/14/51 Queens Q 65 College Pt-164 Queens Q 65 8/10/37 Replace Queens Streetcar Q 66 Northern Blvd Queens Q 66 9/ 5/37 Replace Queens Streetcar Q 67 69 St/Borden Av Queens Q 67 10/30/37 Replace Queens Streetcar Q 69 21 St Triboro Q 19A 1933 Triboro Q 70 Woodside-LGA new 9/ 8/13 Q 72 Junction-LGA Triboro B 72 8/25/49 Replace BMT Streetcar 188 St/73 Av NYCTA Q 75 4/28/52 NYCTA Q 76 Francis Lewis NYCTA Q 76 10/29/61 NYCTA Q 77 Springfield Blvd NYCTA Q 77 9/13/65 NYCTA Q 83 Liberty/Murdock NYCTA (D) Q 3A 1923 Bee Line Q 84 Merrick/120 Av NYCTA (D) Q 4A 1923 Bee Line Q 85 Merrick/Conduit NYCTA (D) Q 5A Bee Line Q 88 Harding/73 Av NYCTA Q 88 9/16/74 NYCTA Q100 Rikers Island Queens Q101R 1980's Q101 Steinway St Queens Q101 12/ 6/35 Replace Steinway Streetcar Q102 31 St Queens Q102 9/29/39 Replace Steinway Streetcar Q103 Vernon Blvd Queens Q103 9/29/39 Replace Steinway Streetcar Q104 Broadway Queens Q104 9/29/39 Replace Steinway Streetcar Q110 Jamaica Ave Jamaica Q110 11/26/33 Replace Jamaica Streetcar Q111 Guy R. Brewer Jamaica Q111 11/12/33 Jamaica Q112 Liberty Jamaica Q112 12/ 3/33 Replace Jamaica Streetcar Q113 Guy R. Brewer Jamaica Q113 9/15/30 Replace Jamaica Streetcar Q114 Guy R. Brewer Jamaica Q113 9/15/30 Replace Jamaica StreetcarNot listed, and until 2008 not shown on NYCTA bus maps, are express bus routes into Manhattan. These routes were acquired by MTA Bus in 2005 and 2006 from the private operators, and have numbers beginning with "QM", reflecting both boroughs.