Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coach USA-Suburban Transit, Academy Bus Line

You can bet your bippy I won't be extolling the virtues of the above-named companies today.

In fact, they suck. And here's why they suck.

Coach/Suburban has a monopoly on bus service out of Exit 9 of the New Jersey Turnpike to and from New York City. This monopoly was granted to them because they bid, and won, a contract from the township. That contract has severe penalties built into it if Coach/Suburban fails to perform. They must be on-time. They guarantee X number of seats will be available within X amount of time during both the morning commute from New Brunswick to New York AND during the evening commute from the Port Authority building in New York to New Brunswick. It's a pity I don't commute out of Exit 9. My life would be perfect if I did. Unfortunately, I commute out of Exit 8-A, another 12 miles or so down the turnpike.

In the 7 years I've been making an evening commute out of New York I have observed, time and again, the dispatchers in New York deliberately CANNIBALIZING buses from other service areas in New Jersey SOLELY for the purpose of fulfilling their contractural obligations to the New Brunswick riders... often leaving riders to much further destinations (8-A Jamesburg and 8 Hightstown) high and dry and awaiting a bus that won't be pressed into service on the High and Almighty New Brunswick run.

Their primary competitor in New Jersey is Academy Bus Lines. The only problem with Academy is that it has no accountability to the riders whatsoever. No contracts, no nothing. In fact, they just plain don't give a rat's ass if you get to work or get home from work at all.

Their attitude is one of condescension, as though we, the riders, should be fucking grateful that they showed up at all. Today's morning Academy bus, number 1804, arrived with a rotting supply of 3-day old fruit and cold, half-empty, coffee-cups, jammed into the mesh netting of the seat backs at the back of the bus. This bus had clearly not been serviced for some time and actually posed a health hazard.

Oh, and it invariably arrives late these days, mostly because the driver has been coerced into stopping at Dunkin' Donuts to pick up coffee for the dispatcher at the 8-A park and ride, who is too lazy to stop and get his own.

The problem with both of these companies is that they're both subsidized by New Jersey Transit to operate their routes. Subsidized up the ass. By taxpayers. Like me. On top of which each rider (from my stop) has to shuck out 90 bucks a week (yup, 9 bucks a trip) to get to and from New York. That's Four Thousand One-Hundred and Forty dollars ($4,140.00) in POST-TAX dollars I (and all the other schlubs on my bus) pay to Coach/Suburban and/or Academy every year. Throw in another Three Hundred and Eighty-Five dollars a year to park ($385.00).

This is just the tip of the crooked iceberg in New Jersey. Only an idiot wouldn't realize that both of those companies GREASE every politician in the statehouse in Trenton in order to assure that they retain the most-favored nation status that they enjoy; and shutting New Jersey Transit out, thus insuring gluttonous profits for the two, privately owned bus companies.

It's a shame. It's a disgrace. It's a major pain in everyone's ass.

And nobody does a fucking thing about it.


Aerten said...

Thank you, Ron. I no longer feel quite so miserable about the state of non-public transportation up here in Smalbany. I still miss the Chicago Transit Authority, though. ;)

JoyZeeBoy said...

I miss the Chicago Transit Authority, too. The OLD CTA. When that brass section was unmistak...


you meant the REAL Chicago Transit Authority, didn't you?

Actually, I'll tell you which mass transit system I miss. Seattle's. They were great! Better than New York City's.

Aerten said...

LOL Yes, I miss the group formerly known as Chicago Transit Authority, though as Chicago they were good. For a while.

Seattle, eh? I could see myself living there. Except that it's WAY too close to my sister down in Eugene. She'd visit. I wouldn't like that.