By N. CLARK JUDD JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
After two major bus lines serving the Greenville section of Jersey City are eliminated, another line will see reduced service.
Red and Tan in Hudson County’s No. 4 bus, which serves Grove Street via Merritt Street, will no longer stop at Exchange Place as of Jan. 14, said company manager John Emberson. Emberson, district general manager for Red and Tan’s parent company, Coach USA, added that buses will run less frequently during “off-peak” hours.
City officials are campaigning for Red and Tan to use No. 4 service to compensate for the Jan. 13 shutdown of the No. 16 and No. 99 buses, which also serve the Greenville area.
Following the September shutdown of Red and Tan’s No. 3 line, the closures represent a drastic cut in bus service to the area – and NJ Transit, which also operates buses in Greenville, has taken notice.
“We’re going to monitor the situation and continue this conversation we’re having with the city to see if there’s some way we might be able to help,” said NJ Transit spokesman Dan Stessel. “That said, we’re operating in a very tight budget environment, so we’re proceeding very conservatively here.”
Like the cutting of the No. 3 bus and the No. 231 along Central Avenue last summer, the latest reductions in service were blamed on declining ridership due to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and rising fuel and insurance costs.
“Generally, we have seen a reduction in our passenger counts in the Jersey City area in all our lines in the last 18 months,” Emberson said.
An NJ Transit spokeswoman said their planners believe Jersey City Medical Center, served by the Jersey Avenue Light Rail Station, is a main destination for bus riders.
“The bulk of our customers within Jersey City are going to Jersey City Medical Center, the Grove Street PATH station, together with the Newark Avenue Downtown area, as well as to work locations at Exchange Place,” said NJ Transit spokeswoman Courtney Carroll.
Most riders on the No. 87 bus go to Journal Square to shop, catch a PATH train, or switch buses, and small contingents also go to work in Bayonne in the mornings and to Hoboken, Carroll said.
But with Red and Tan buses disappearing, other buses are getting crowded.
Palisade Avenue residents have long complained that the No. 99S is full by the time it reaches them on its journey to Manhattan from Bayonne. And after the No. 3 bus stopped running, riders looking to get to Journal Square from Greenville swarmed to NJ Transit’s No. 87, which is now constantly packed, said city Quality of Life Task Force chief David Donnelly.