McKnight & Ruiz bill requiring public process for private bus service changes clears Senate


A bill sponsored by state Senators Angela McKnight (D-31) and Teresa Ruiz (D-29) requiring a public process for private bus service changes cleared the upper chamber unanimously (38-0) today.

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31). Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Specifically, Bill S-2607 would require private bus companies who operate in-state and interstate routes to provide notice and hold public hearings for changes to their operation of fixed route bus service.

“For many people, public transportation is their lifeline to work, medical care, and taking care of their families. Any disruption to these services means upending someone’s livelihood. Entire communities depend on these services, are loyal customers, and deserve respect from the companies they rely on,” Ruiz said in a statement.

The bill would require a private bus operator to provide at least four months’ written notice to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and NJ Transit before a substantial cutback in service.

At least three months’ written notice to customers and at least one public meeting in the affected area would be required of the bus operator.

Any private company found in violation of the bill would be subject to a fine of $10,000 for each violation. The bill excludes any motorbus operations that are predominately operated for tourism or recreational purposes from these requirements.

“Commuters should not be left in the dark on changes to their private bus route service. This legislation gives NJ Transit and commuters enough time to prepare alternative transportation or voice their concerns over service cuts, making sure everyone can still get to their destination,” McKnight added.

Throughout the last year, various private carrier companies abruptly terminated services and routes throughout the state, such as A&C Bus in Jersey City, which McKnight pushed for a solution for while serving as a state assemblywoman.

At the end of July, the private bus company announce it would be shuttering on Halloween, after after a heavy push from electeds and advocates alike, NJ Transit announced “emergency stabilization service” for riders in Greenville and the west side of the city.

Also in September, Coach USA abruptly discontinued bus service in Orange, Newark, and East Orange, which caused distress among riders and left NJ Transit to establish short-term emergency alternatives and lean on employers to fill gaps.

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