On January 27th, Central Avenue’s only bus service, route 231 (traveling from Central Avenue in the Heights down through the Greenville section arriving at the new Jersey City Medical Center in the Downtown area) was discontinued. This action greatly impacts not only the Heights but all of Jersey City. While working with elected officials, the Central Avenue S.I.D. Management Corporation (CASID) spearheaded a campaign which ultimately restored Central Avenue bus services on a limited basis from Monday thru Fridays.
Receiving strong community support, the CASID collected an estimated 6,000 signatures in a petition drive to restore bus service in only three (3) short days. At the Feb. 7th 2006 public meeting, it was standing room only as more then 300 people crowed the Central Avenue Reform Church to speak on the issue.
Since then Hudson County Improvement Authority Director Executive Director, Norman Guerra, pulled together enough resources through the Hudson County Transportation Management Association to provide FREE bus shuttles every 30 minutes along Central Avenue on Saturdays and Sundays to last until June 30, 2006. This was a most unexpected, but greatly appreciated gift from the County to the people of Jersey City.
During the last five months, elected officials continued talks with Coach USA/ Red & Tan of Hudson County to find a solution to weekend bus services after June 30th. Consequently, Assemblyman Vincent Prieto has sponsored legislation which would crack down on illegal jitney bus operations. The measures focus on increasing the penalties for operating unsafe or illegally licensed and unregistered commuter vans, enhancing public awareness of van safety issues, and amending current laws to fix regulatory loopholes. All legitimate busing operations will benefit from the new legislation because there will be less competition for ridership. With the new legislation in place, Coach USA agreed to resume weekend service along Central Avenue a few days before the June 30th deadline. The legislation lifts the strain from Coach USA’s other bus lines thus making it possible for them to service Central Avenue.
The CASID would like to thank Coach USA General Manager, John Solomita for his commitment to resume weekend bus services. We also thank the Honorable Mayor Jerramiah Healy, his Deputy Chief of Staff Dominick Pandolfo, Council President Mariano Vega Jr., Councilman-at-Large Peter Brenan, State Senator Nicholas Sacco, Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, Hudson county Executive Tom DeGise, and HCIA Executive Director, Norman Guerra for supporting the Central Avenue Business District and the people of Jersey City.
We give a special thanks to Assemblyman Vincent Prieto and Heights Councilman Bill Gaughan who were among the first to assist our efforts and continue to play a significant roll in finding a long-term solution.
Their efforts to maintain bus services on Central Avenue will always be remembered by residents, businesses, employees, students, the physically disabled, and seniors with limited travel options throughout Jersey City.