In a letter to the editor, Jersey City resident Amy Wilson gives her take on why “it is imperative” that NJ Transit takes over the four A&C Bus routes on the West Side set to discontinue soon.
My name is Amy Wilson, and I have been a resident of Jersey City’s West Side for over twenty years.
I am writing because, as you have reported and has been reported elsewhere, bus service provided by the A&C bus lines to my neighborhood have been slated to be canceled starting October 31st.
This affects four lines that are crucial to the well-being of the West Side — the 440 Shopper, Montgomery/West Side, Society Hill, and Bergen Ave buses are all currently endangered.
Thousands of people depend on these buses to get to work, school, appointments, and more.
Try to catch any of these buses during rush hour, and you will find them jam-packed full of riders — so much that the drivers often have to skip stops and leave passengers waiting, as the buses get intensely, and sometimes dangerously, crowded.
To imagine a scenario where these lines are canceled and all of those passengers resort to driving to their destination, is a nightmare. The West Side already struggles with traffic jams around our major arteries; this would only exacerbate that problem tenfold.
Mass transit provides the public with a cost efficient, environmentally friendly alternative to driving.
During a time when we ought to be adding many more public transportation alternatives to our city, it’s ludicrous that we are staring into the face of such a massive reduction in service.
This will only lead to more cars on the road, more fights for parking, more traffic jams, and more pollution.
Not everyone can bike or walk to their destination; buses provide inexpensive and dependable service while also contributing a positive alternative to our community.
These lines serve several communities that will be devastated if they should be canceled.
From seniors in Marion who may be opting not to drive for safety reasons, to high school students too young to drive but who are looking for a safe and reliable option to get to school, to college students at St. Peter’s University, NJCU, and Hudson County Community College trying to stretch their dollars, these buses are important to so many people.
That’s not to mention the workers looking to commute to NYC, or to jobs at the Newport Mall or 440 Mall — ending these buses effectively cuts our neighborhood off from the rest of the city, unless everyone suddenly resorts to driving.
So what can be done? Well, NJ Transit has, in other similar circumstances, picked up routes when the private bus company providing them has canceled them (as is the case here).
In Essex County, for instance, when DeCamp Bus Lines went out of business, NJ Transit stepped in to ensure that the residents of Montclair and other surrounding towns wouldn’t lose easy transportation to NYC.
As a taxpayer-funded entity, they’ve been able to restore to those communities the same level of service they would have otherwise had taken away. Doesn’t Jersey City deserve the same treatment?
It is imperative that NJ Transit pick up the four lines being eliminated by the A&C bus company. I would like to call on local residents who are affected by this cancellation of service to do two things:
One, write to your representatives in Trenton, including the Governor. I have a letter here you can sign, or if you’d like you can certainly write your own letter.
Two, on Thursday 8/24 at 9am, there will be a virtual meeting of the NJ Transit board which includes public comment.
It would be so helpful to hear from people in the community and have them ask NJT directly to take up these lines.
Pre-register by 8/23 to make a statement here. (As always, my wish is that all communication, whether by letter or in public comment, be respectful and kind to all parties.)
Let’s let our representatives in Trenton know that we need these buses to continue. Please take action now, as time is running out.
October 31st is coming all too fast, and if we wait to let this issue wind its way through the political bureaucracy of our state, we may well find that we’ve run out of our time.
It is imperative that the community act now to save these crucial buses.
Jersey City resident