🔴 DeCamp bus line will end commuter service into New York City April 8

🔴 Ridership is only at 20% or less of pre-pandemic levels

🔴 Changing commuting habits since the pandemic means less commuters into Manhattan

DeCamp bus line will end commuter service into New York City on April 8 after struggling with lower ridership and changing commuting patterns since the pandemic.

The Montclair-based bus line has roots back to 1870 when Union Army Maj. Jonathan W. DeCamp started running a covered wagon service from Roseland to Newark. The company grew to provide bus service from Essex County to the Port Authority but met its match in reduced ridership brought on by the pandemic.

"As we pass the three-year mark from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeCamp Bus Lines has struggled to recapture daily commuter passengers as work-from-home, telecommuting and flex schedules severely reduced daily commuting to New York City," the line wrote in a message on its Twitter account.

The line says current ridership has averaged 20% or less of pre-pandemic levels. It has been able to continue service with federal and state financial assistance but with no additional programs forthcoming commuter service is not sustainable.

DeCamp will continue its charter, shuttle and casino services.

DeCamp bus
DeCamp bus (DeCamp bus lines)

Panedmic restrictions reduces ridership

The bus line suspended service in 2020 after a 97% drop in ridership when pandemic mandates limited bus capacity. Members of the Greater New Jersey Motor Coach Association have struggled since in the face of commuting habits that have changed.

"I would definitely say that this is a trend that our operators within the association that run transit going into the cities," GNKJMA executive director Patricia Cowley told New Jersey 101.5. "The organizations I'm sure will find over time whether this work-from-home is productive enough to keep it up."

Many companies have tried to implement return-to-work orders for employees for at least a couple times a week but have found resistance from those who don't miss the commuting grind.

"I know that DeCamp struggled with this decision but this is something that they had to decide as a company and they're going to focus on their other kinds of business," Cowley said.

By comparison, NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett at Wednesday's board meeting said that NJ Transit ridership systemwide is approaching 75% of pre-COVID levels.

NJ Transit ridership recovery from pandemic
NJ Transit ridership recovery from pandemic (Canva)

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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