Jersey City and Bayonne will lose 99S and 4 buses; Red & Tan Line says their ridership is low

By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal

The Red & Tan bus company will eliminate its 99S and 4 buses next month, an action that could leave commuters scrambling to find alternative routes to work.

The 99S bus starts in Bayonne, travels up Kennedy Boulevard to Journal Square, then north on Central Avenue and ends at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York. The 4 bus travels from Merritt Street to Newport Centre in Jersey City. The two lines will cease running after Nov. 6.

Jim Rutheford, general manager for Red & Tan and four other bus companies under the umbrella of Coach USA, confirmed the decision yesterday. He said low ridership is to blame.

“We’ve been struggling with these lines for several years,” Rutherford said. “Certainly the economy hasn’t helped us.”

Rutherford declined to give actual ridership figures.

“This is ridiculous that they are canceling the 4 line,” said Cindy Hogan, 55, who uses the bus four or five times a week to get to work. “I remember when Coach buses had a line that went between Jersey City and Union City, but I guess they weren’t making enough money.

“Mass transit always loses money, so I don’t know why it’s a sudden revelation now; now people are going to get laid off in addition to the inconveniences it causes.”

Juan Valez, 18, of Jersey City, said he doesn’t know how he’ll get to Newport mall without the 4 bus.

“I need this bus, this is my fifth time here this week,” Valez said. “I came here today just to get food with my friends, so obviously this is a place we like to go to often.”

Red & Tan currently operates three lines in Jersey City. The one route that will remain active is the 10 bus that runs from Third Street in Bayonne to Journal Square.

Rutherford suggested 99S riders use the 10 and get into New York by using PATH trains, while riders of the 4 bus can look to NJ Transit’s Light Rail and 81 bus.

Journal staff writer John Heinis contributed to this story.