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Residents in some New Jersey cities upset by Coach USA's decision to drop certain bus routes

Residents in some N.J. cities upset by Coach USA's decision to drop certain bus routes
Residents in some N.J. cities upset by Coach USA's decision to drop certain bus routes 02:11

ELIZABETH, N.J. -- Bus riders in New Jersey are once again dealing with route eliminations.

The lines being cut are in neighborhoods where many commuters rely on public transportation.

The 24 Coach USA bus line is one of the routes that will be eliminated in a matter of weeks, according to the company. In Newark, where 50% of the population doesn't drive, commuters say they're overwhelmed by the decision.

"If they can't take that bus where we need to go what are we supposed to do?" resident Nyrie Griffin said.

Griffin relies on the 24 for food shopping.

"I would hope that they would keep it because I am not the only person who relies on it," Griffin said.

"A lot of people do use the 24 to the point where it is packed," East Orange resident Ivette Richards said.

Coach USA says it is also discontinuing ONE bus routes 31 and 44. The bus lines go through cities like Elizabeth, South Orange, East Orange, and Newark.

"I have to go a whole new direction to get where I am going," one person said.

Coach USA said in a statement it doesn't receive state subsidies, and with lower passenger counts and higher operating costs there's no way to keep the three lines running. A company vice president added, "We attempted to run uninterrupted service on those lines, but with decrease in ridership, driver shortages, inflationary pressures on all operating expenses, and our strong desire in providing the most affordable mode of transportation, it simply became untenable to continue."

"We don't want to have transit deserts and we are committed to not having that," Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday.

Murphy said his administration is working on something to make sure Coach USA riders aren't abandoned, but he's not announcing anything just yet.

"Should NJ Transit be playing a more meaningful role, etc.? Those are all questions that we'll be sitting with the communities, most importantly, to try to work through," Murphy said.

Coach USA commuters are demanding answers.

"Why stop a bus where a lot of people need it? It's taking them to work, taking them home," said Lee Williams of Newark.

Company officials said all other bus routes continue to operate.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called the matter urgent, saying Coach USA should be pressured to reverse its decision or work with the city to come up with other alternatives.

CBS New York reached out to Coach USA for an interview, but the company has not responded.

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