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Jersey City News

NO. 4 BUS DOOMED? Ridership has three months to improve

By N. CLARK JUDD JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

If ridership on the No. 4 bus through Greenville to the Jersey City waterfront isn't high enough in the next three months, the route's operator will shut it down, bus officials said.

Officials from bus operator Red & Tan in Hudson County have said service on the No. 4 bus through Greenville to Grove Street Station will be reduced beginning Jan. 14 - it will no longer pass Exchange Place.

That same day, NJ Transit will start giving Red & Tan 90 days of financial assistance to continue running the route, said John Emberson, a representative of Red & Tan's parent company, Coach USA.

"We will look at that line and see how its holding up and what the passenger count is looking like," Emberson said.

And if it's too low after state money runs out, he said, it'll be curtains for the No. 4.

This latest threat comes just days before two other Greenville routes, the No. 16 and No. 99, will be shut down completely, and months after a third line through Greenville, the No. 3 along Garfield Avenue, was also eliminated. All this comes after a summer route change that forced residents of Palisade Avenue in the Jersey City Heights to trek over to Central Avenue to catch the Red & Tan No. 99S bus to New York City.

Jaymie Martinez, waiting at Communipaw Avenue and Grand Street for the No. 4 to take her three kids to day care at Exchange Place, figures she'll now have to get to Grove Street and either take a Montgomery/West Side bus or NJ Transit's No. 81 Local to get to the waterfront. The transfer will add an extra 10 or 15 minutes to her commute, she said.

"I hardly make it on time to take them to school," Martinez said. After she drops off 5-year-old C.J. and his two sisters, Natalia, 3, and Amaya, 2, at day care, she'll have to get on the light rail to get to her job on Garfield Avenue, she said.

Moszelle Staggers, who was waiting for the No. 16 on Communipaw Avenue near Monticello on Friday morning, says she'll likely take NJ Transit's No. 1 bus to get to Exchange Place.

She could also take the No. 87 to Journal Square via the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and then get on the PATH, she said.

NJ Transit's No. 81 also serves Exchange Place from the Greenville/Bergen-Lafayette area.

Red & Tan also currently makes just over $77 an hour running a shuttle service between Port Liberty and the Grove Street PATH station on a contract from NJ Transit, he said.

Emberson, the Coach USA official, said the approximately 20 drivers on the affected routes would likely be reassigned to other routes.