Jersey City Merchants Gripe Over Bus Service Cancellation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Merchants and commuters are upset over plans to end bus service along Central Avenue in Jersey City. Brian Thompson reports. (Published Thursday, Oct 13, 2011)

    Merchants along a busy main street in Jersey City are fighting plans to end bus service there. 

    Bus company Red and Tan Lines announced it will end all bus service on Central Avenue after Nov. 6, citing declining ridership. It said it was no longer able to make a profit on the run.

    "It's a death penalty," Michael Yun of Garden State News said, emphasizing mass transportation as a critical issue for his community. 

    For Daniel Aguirra of Lodi, N.J., it means an end to his commute by car to the neighborhood, where he currently parks and then rides the bus to Manhattan.

    Aguirra said he frequently picks up food after work, or shops at the Central Avenue stores instead of going to Wal-Mart.

    Once the buses stop running, "I have no reason to come here," Aguirra said.

    Merchants have put up a banner that stretches across the street urging people to ride the bus.

    But they admit their nemesis is the jitney bus.

    The private buses are for the most part unregulated, and merchants say they skim off regular bus customers during rush hours and mostly ignore Central Avenue during the business day and at night.

    "The real bus will still run the rest of the day," said Gary Solomon, whose family has owned a floor-covering store on Central Avenue for more than a hundred years.

    A spokeswoman for Mayor Jerremiah Healy said her boss is writing a letter to NJ Transit, asking the agency to use its own buses on Central Avenue to replace the soon-to-disappear Red and Tan Line buses.

    Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @Brian4NY