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Jersey City News

Central Ave. Gets 99s Bus

By KEENAN STEINER JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Press Conference 8/22/07: Councilman Gaughan explains Coach USA's decision to change mass transit service. Pic by CASID

Trying to get to or from Central Avenue - one of Jersey City's main arteries - can be a bit tricky. But not for long, bus officials promise.

Beginning Aug. 27, the 99S bus will be rerouted from Palisade Avenue and will replace the 231 bus now servicing Central Avenue.

Red and Tan Coach USA officials said the changes represent an upgrade for Central Avenue residents and commuters because the new line will travel farther and stop more often than the 231, which currently runs every 45 minutes between Hague Street and Journal Square, doesn't run between noon and 2 p.m., and stops running at 6 p.m.

The new 99S will run from Third Street in Bayonne to Kennedy Boulevard, to Journal Square, then up Central Avenue before cutting across Congress Street and heading to the Port Authority Bus Station in New York via the Lincoln Tunnel.

Traveling within Jersey City on the 99S will cost $1.40 and riding to New York will cost $3.25. The bus will run every half hour from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy explains the benefits of the new 10 and 99s routes at an August 22 press conference on Central Avenue.The 231 used to operate between Hague Street and Liberty State Park, serving Greenville and Bayonne. But Red and Tan Coach USA shortened the route in 2006 due to a fall in ridership.

Since then, residents have complained because they haven't been able to get to doctors appointments or shop in Central Avenue stores, say officials of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District.

"It (the 231) was a very undependable line for shoppers and seniors," said Central Avenue SID President Michael Yun.

The Central Avenue SID pushed for the change because merchants have lost shoppers since the 231 route was shortened in early 2006. Yun said sales have fallen by 30 percent among Central Avenue businesses since then.

The switch made sense for Red and Tan Coach USA because there was low ridership on Palisade Avenue, said the company's general manager, Jim Rutherford.

The 99S Express, which runs from Bayonne to New York, will continue to operate on its current route and will not service Central Avenue.