99S Service from Bayonne to Port Authority Bus Terminal in Jeopardy
Mayor Mark A. Smith called upon Red and Tan Lines and Coach USA to continue to operate Bayonne to Midtown Manhattan service via the 99S bus route. The Mayor received a letter on Tuesday from Counsel for the bus company that they intended to terminate this route effective November 6, 2011. The letter claims that the route was suffering from the economic downturn and increased competition from what they termed “illegal minibus operators”.
Mayor Smith contacted the attorney and asked that the company continue to provide service while the city and the company explored the issue and considered ways to improve the route’s viability or developed alternatives. Smith felt the short notice was unfair to the commuting citizens of Bayonne. “Many people use this bus on a daily basis to get to and from work and to eliminate the route with only a month’s notice is unacceptable,” said Smith.
The Mayor also joined Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell in calling upon New Jersey Transit to assume the route that Red and Tan is abandoning. “Efficient mass transit is an absolute necessity to an urban environment,” said O’Donnell, “and this route is unique in that it services midtown directly.” The assemblyman pointed out that the alternatives involve taking several different buses or a combination of trains making the daily commute unaffordable and time-consuming. O’Donnell joined Smith in calling for a meeting with the operator.
“Bus Companies should not be allowed to cherry pick the routes that are most profitable to them and abandon the rest,” said Mayor Smith “In exchange for the business, they should take the good and the not-so good.”
The 99S bus route begins at West Third Street in Bayonne and travels to Journal Square, down Central Avenue in Jersey City and ultimately through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. Alternatives would involve switching buses at Journal Square or taking a combination of the Light Rail and various subways.