11 Bus Lines Targeted for Cutbacks

As a result of a first-of-its-kind exercise for NJ Transit, the agency is proposing cuts in 11 bus lines, which NJT says are little-used compared to the majority of its bus services; Mike Frassinelli reported the proposed cuts in the Star-Ledger (May 15).  NJT’s review of its bus operations involved an ”inward look” using metrics to find ways to better allocate its resources; the new initiative is said to stem from NJT’s “Scorecard” user-input survey program.  The 11 bus routes targeted average 14 customers per hour, compared to the systemwide average of 24.  Also, the average subsidy per passenger on these routes is a whopping $4.87, compared to a systemwide average of $1.29.  Five bus lines would be eliminated completely: routes 42, 43, 75, 78, and 93; six others would have services “adjusted”: for example, the lightly-used University Heights branch of route 258 would be eliminated, but the rest of the 258 service would be unaffected.  Savings of $3.1 million are forecast from the changes; but $1 million would be reinvested in new projects, including 24-hour bus service between Newark Penn Station, Newark Airport, and Elizabeth.  Public hearings are scheduled for the cuts on June 12 at One Penn Plaza, Newark (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and at the Wayne Municipal Complex on June 13 (5-8 p.m.)

The Lackawanna Coalition believes that coordinated bus and rail service is essential to an effective transportatioin network.  All too often, NJT bus and rail services are not coordinated as far as schedules and fare schemes; attention to this could improve ridership on both rail and bus lines.