The public transportation system in Jersey City has been changing rapidly in recent years as a result of the real estate boom and many other factors, and the Heights in particular has seen significant service adjustments. Citing ridership changes and financial considerations, bus company Coach USA moved routes 10 and 99s to Central Avenue in August after cancelling the Avenue’s only previous route, the 231. While this route consolidation preserved service along the Height’s central business corridor, it cost the eastern side of the Heights its direct transit link to New York, a crucial component of the Height’s overall transit system.
The Riverview Neighborhood Association (RNA), with active support from the residents of Palisade and Ogden Avenues and the Central Avenue SID (CASID), is advocating for a long-term solution that would significantly improve the level of mass transit service available in the Heights. After researching the routes and schedules of all bus lines that run through the neighborhood, the RNA has determined that an extension of NJ Transit bus route 123 is the best solution to the current lack of service to New York along Palisade Avenue. The 123 currently begins its route at the Congress St. light rail station before continuing to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York via Palisade Avenue in Union City. Under the RNA’s plan, the 123 would continue south on Palisade Avenue past Congress Street to a new terminus at Christ Hospital. This extension would provide local residents a safe and reliable one-seat ride to the Port Authority in New York City.
The transit master planning processes currently being planned by Hudson County and the City of Jersey City will eventually help to address the transit needs of residents and commuters throughout the area. However, the RNA has taken the initiative to address an acute need for transit along Palisade Avenue, which must get service to New York restored long before the master plan processes are even begun.
The RNA has presented the 123 extension plan to numerous elected officials on the state and local levels. Senator Nick Sacco, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, member of the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee, as well as Mayor Jerramiah Healy, and Union City Mayor Brian Stack, have all pledged to advocate for the plan. Thus far, however, NJ Transit has indicated that funding limitations would make it difficult to extend the 123 route. “It won’t happen overnight but we will not give up. We expect our elected officials to advocate for us in conjunction with the activism of their constituents in the Heights. This will lead to getting reliable, direct NYC bus service on Palisade Avenue,” said Becky Hoffman, RNA Chairperson.