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The "Jitney Van" Invasion
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5469
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:48 pm    Post subject: The "Jitney Van" Invasion Reply with quote

All:

In my area of southeastern Bergen County, these "jitneys" (I'm being VERY polite here!) more than outnumber NJT buses (routes #159, 159R, and 751)

Very few of the drivers seem to care about traffic laws and regulations; I have seen far too many "near misses" in the past 15 years or so (involving both pedestrians and other vehicles), since these rattletrap vehicles have become more frequent sights than NJT buses.

Over the years,I have also heard of many jitney vans pulled over, for various violations, with drivers operating their vehicles with either revoked or suspended licenses (not to mention, no insurance)

The last several years of commuting, I cannot tell you how many times a jitney would pass my bus (often going over the line) to cut in front, so they could grab the passengers at the stop awaiting the ACADEMY or NJT bus.

Our driver would slam on the brakes, cuss a blue steak, and make sure that all aboard were OK, after the sudden stop.

Personally, I do not see how NJT allows these vans to pick up potential passengers; after all, NJT is the largest bus operator in the State, and for every passenger that takes a jitney van instead of an NJT bus is yet another loss for NJT's coffers.

NJT, IMHO, is also at fault; over a decade ago, they cut back the "#22 HILLSIDE" (formerly an ACADEMY line) to Nungessers, eliminating all service through Fairview and north to the Fort Lee border.

NJT never "beefed up" #159 service to take up the slack after the #22 was cut back.

The #751 runs every two hours on Anderson Avenue (alternate trips via Palisades Avenue)

That my area of New Jersey is closer to Manhattan than Staten Island, and yet sees bus service more atkin to the "boondocks" than a busy metro area, always strikes me as quite odd, to say the least.

I recall the days when ORANGE & BLACK had several routes through the area, as did TNJ; service was frequent and fares were more than reasonable.

Many years back, I found myself having to take a "jitney", and, after the last time, I vowed never again (I really didn't want to, even at the time, but had no choice)

I would, most certainly, much rather ride on an NJT bus was a qualified, knowledgeable, licensed driver, aboard a bus that I know is has been inspected and is safe, than to take my chances aboard a "jitney" (cleanliness, also, obviously, leaves much to be desired)

I truly miss the old days, when we had frequent BUSES that we could rely on in this area (I have lived here since 1974); I have watched as many as 40-plus jitneys rattle back and forth, before I even get a glimpse of an NJT bus.

Several years back, there was fatal jitney accident on Boulevard East in Weehawken, resulting in the tragic loss of a child's life.

Sadly, I see no signs whatsoever of things improving, even on a miniscule level.

Hoping that NJT would ever see fit to increase bus service on these local routes is foolhardy, at best.

Right now, I would even be happy if they brought back the #22.

Just my 2 1/2 cents worth......

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:01 am; edited 2 times in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5469
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a few 1981 views of Nungessers (Hudson County/Bergen County borderline)

I have known this area since childhood, and have lived within five minutes of here since 1974.

It is not only the GMC and Flex New Looks that date these nostalgic views; that there are only BUSES.....and no JITNEYS.....indeed take us back a few decades.

The "Jitney Invasion" was still many years into the future, when these photos were snapped, nearly 40 years ago (I might have been on one of these buses, when these photos were taken!) Very Happy

Today, jitneys dominate this location, easily outnumbering the NJT buses........

"NYO"

http://bus.nycsubway.org/perl/show?2372

http://bus.nycsubway.org/perl/show?4320

http://bus.nycsubway.org/perl/show?3435

(courtesy: bus.nycsubway.org)

*Back in the day, I well remember several bus companies serving Nungessers:

NORTH HUDSON BOULEVARD LINES (their long-gone off street terminal was next to the old White Castle)

PSNJ/TRANSPORT OF NEW JERSEY

M&G/FRANMAR/ACADEMY

ORANGE & BLACK/MAPLEWOOD EQUIPMENT CO.

MANHATTAN LINES
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 1157
Location: Queens, NY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NYO -- Agree about the 'jitney's', as you call them. Their driver's are extremely agressive--worse than taxi driver's, IMHO. These vehicle's came about I believe to target several Hispanic neighborhoods that may have been underserved in some way...not sure about that.

Anyway, from what I have heard, the reason they driver so aggressively is because in essence, they ARE taxi driver's...they either own or trip-lease their vehicle's, and then whatever they earn thru their farebox is their's to keep. So they drive like madmen to hurry to make their next trip.

I cannot begin to tell you how stressful it was, dealing with them making illegal turns from the Dyer Avenue Lincoln Tunnel exit onto 40th Street, several times a day....they would turn from the third and even fourth lane, cutting off buses making the legal turn from the first and second lane....sure don't miss that!
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

traildriver:

Great post; I did not know about the jitney drivers actually BEING taxi drivers (at least in essence!) Shocked

Many times, on a decent weather day, I will look at my Philly PCC car watch (or my 50th anniversary Bugs Bunny watch!) and then keep count of how many jitney vans pass by, before I see ANY sign of a NJT bus.

I have seen sometimes 15 (or more) vans in the span of only 5 minutes or so; again, there is (too) much aggressive driving to witness.

FINALLY.....after lengthy waiting....an NJT bus will make an appearance (NO GUARANTEE that it won't be a "deadhead" run, displaying the usual, and dreaded, "NO PASSENGERS" sign!)

I have seen several passengers waiting (seemingly forever) for either a #159 or a #751 simply board a jitney, instead of waiting further (in bad weather, in a way, I cannot blame them; however, I would certainly rather wait for a BUS)

This, I feel, is also NJT's fault, for cutting the #22 HILLSIDE back to Nungessers over a decade ago, and not increasing serve on the #159.

The #159's run anywhere from 25-35 minutes off-peak, while the jitneys are virtually every time you blink your eye.

Back in the day, I well recall how frequent the buses then in operation ran; Mom used them frequently to go shopping in West New York, and I also used them (both for commutation and just for the fun of riding a Fishbowl!)

Until about 1977, the old ORANGE & BLACK Old Looks were still running (good thing I snapped some pics!)

Another thing that irks me is that the jitneys get "up close and personal" with the PABT and GWB terminals; to me, that is only encouraging the jitney operators.

More seriously, I have seen far too many "near misses" involving these rattletraps; I indeed pray I never see anything serious.

Man, to go back to 1975............ Rolling Eyes

"NYO"
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 1157
Location: Queens, NY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where I live in Queens, it used to be known as a "two-fare zone", in that I had to pay separately for the Queens Transit bus to get me to the nearest subway station.
In the seventies or eighties. the "dollar cab" phenomenom began, stealing passenger's from bus stops, with a more frequent, and much faster option to reach the subway, then the slow, overcrowded buses.
That all ended when they started the Metrocard, free transfer from bus to subway or vv, within 2 hours....suddenly the 'dollar cabs' were put out of business.

Too bad there is not some way to combat the 'Jersey jitney's', as well...
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5469
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

traildriver wrote:
Where I live in Queens, it used to be known as a "two-fare zone", in that I had to pay separately for the Queens Transit bus to get me to the nearest subway station.
In the seventies or eighties. the "dollar cab" phenomenom began, stealing passenger's from bus stops, with a more frequent, and much faster option to reach the subway, then the slow, overcrowded buses.
That all ended when they started the Metrocard, free transfer from bus to subway or vv, within 2 hours....suddenly the 'dollar cabs' were put out of business.

Too bad there is not some way to combat the 'Jersey jitney's', as well...


traildriver:

Here, in my area of southeastern Bergen County, there is only NJT buses, no private carriers (the last was ACADEMY, before NJT took over its #22 years ago, before cutting it back to Nungessers)

There is no rail option whatsoever (rapid transit or otherwise) in the area; the HBLR has been proposed to be extended into Bergen County, using ex-EL right of way (last used by commuter trains in late 1966), but this ambitious plan is still hitting obstacles and even more red tape (the nearest HBLR station is 48th St., Union City)

I cannot, for the life of me, remember exactly when the "jitney invasion" took hold in my area, but I suspect it was sometime around the mid-late 90's (over 20 years of mayhem on the streets!)

Up until the later 70's, Anderson Avenue even boasted an off-street bus terminal, used by TNJ's #21 (today's #181) and M&G's/FRANMAR's #22 HILLSIDE (to 14th St, Hoboken)

It was an open-air facility, right next to the apartment building where my folks and I would later live; there was even a "starter" (then a recently retired bus driver) on premises, a grizzled old fellow who was a dead-ringer the "Skipper" from the old "Toonerville Trolley" comics (ironically, he DID work on the PSNJ streetcars, many years earlier!)

Today, a vacant bank (closed several years back) occupies the site.

To say our various bus services were reliable and pretty frequent were indeed an understatement, back in the day, even on weekends and holidays.

Today, the jitneys simply go wherever they want, unlike the buses, often picking up and discharging passengers in the middle of a block, away from designated bus stops (NO a safe practice, by ANY means; I once saw a debarking passenger nearly clipped by a moron on a motorcycle, who stupidly chose to pass on the right when the jitney was unloading)

Thankfully, for all involved, nothing happened.

Before the old A&P closed (next door to the NJT garage in Fairview, the old ORANGE & BLACK facility) I remember that there was a lot of complaints about jitneys laying over in the parking lot, and also turning around there; I do not know what the situation is there now, as I have not been down that way in years.

They also used the parking lot in back of the old McDonald's on Anderson Avenue for the same purpose; I know that jitneys still use the lot for turning, now that a supermarket now occupies the site.

IMHO, the ONLY way to end this problem is to ban the vans altogether (that will NEVER happen) and have NJT bring back service levels to what they once were.

While I'm at it, I'll wish that FACCo. double deckers will make a comeback, and that the Staten Island Ferry will bring back steam-powered, vehicle-carrying vessels........ Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes

Realistically speaking, I truly feel that the jitneys are here to stay, and that NJT will not attempt to either bring back the #22 to the Fort Lee border, nor decrease headways on the Anderson Avenue routes.

Oh, well........... Confused

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:51 am; edited 2 times in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5469
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further.....

Every once in awhile, I would meet an (active or retired) NJT or ACADEMY driver aboard whose buses I commuted on daily, prior to 2004; the ones still driving cannot WAIT to retire (largely because of the jitneys) and those who are already retired are just thankful that they no longer have to deal with "those #$@$^*(&^@! dollar vans!" Shocked

I heard some "real life horror stories" from these hard-working fellows, let me tell you, on the subject of jitneys......... Rolling Eyes

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See the following:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_vans_in_the_New_York_metropolitan_area

*This is an EXCELLENT, in-depth article, also including Hudson and Bergen counties in New Jersey.

Nungessers, Anderson Avenue, and Union City are also highlighted here (NOT at all surprising!)

VERY in-depth on New York's "dollar vans" as well.

Scary to learn that the majority of vans are unlicensed in New Jersey; that is indeed a dire tragedy just waiting in the wings.

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_van

"NYO"

(interestingly, the word "jitney" was, back in the 1900's, a slang term for a nickle!)
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

.......even though traffic volume is much less here than on a weekday, I decided to have some fun (after purchasing the Sunday paper) and see how many jitneys I could spot before an NJT bus appeared.

In a 25-minute time span, I counted (in both directions) 34 vans and two NJT buses (#159's, inbound and outbound) on Anderson Avenue.

So, here, in 25 minutes, you had a 34-to-2 ratio of jitneys over buses.

The oft-used term "rattletraps" indeed fits most of these jitneys; the cacophany of rattling sounds most of them emit recalls Laurel & Hardy's always cantankerous Model T Ford! Shocked Rolling Eyes

Too many jitneys on the streets, too much competition, too much reckless driving.

NOT a pretty picture, by ANY means............ Sad

"NYO"

* Back in the early mid-1990's, I was good pals with a very congenial fellow named Sal (a dead ringer for Desi Arnaz!), who drove an ex-Cleveland Fishbowl on what was once the NHBL's #1 LOCAL, out of Journal Square, in the early PM rush (bus was #B-118)

I rode his bus on many homeward-bound commutes, over several years.

He HATED.....DESPISED.......both the jitneys AND their drivers.

He always called the jitney drivers "cowboys"!

Too many times to count, he would have more than a few encounters with these vehicles during his trips, never swerving from his duty as a safe (and sane) bus driver; I gave him tremendous credit for the job he did, of safely driving the bus, and keeping as cool as he could, under the circumstances.........a TRUE pro, in every sense of the word........


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another interesting article:

"NEW YORK'S SHADOW TRANSIT"

https://projects.newyorker.com/story/nyc-dollar-vans/
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "jitney" in Brooklyn (another excellent article, w/photos).......

https://www.bklynr.com/brooklyns-dollar-vans-will-not-yield/
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W.B. Fishbowl



Age: 52
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I presume one of those, ahem, "jitneys" was involved in that "accident" (in cases like this, I'll defer to the late Southern comedian "Brother" Dave Gardner who once opined, "See, I don't go along with accidents; I think it's premeditated carelessness") in Chinatown yesterday where it jumped the curb, leaving one (at last count) dead and six more severely injured.

From my experience, I've seen quite a few Hampton Jitneys in my day . . .
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

W.B. Fishbowl wrote:
I presume one of those, ahem, "jitneys" was involved in that "accident" (in cases like this, I'll defer to the late Southern comedian "Brother" Dave Gardner who once opined, "See, I don't go along with accidents; I think it's premeditated carelessness") in Chinatown yesterday where it jumped the curb, leaving one (at last count) dead and six more severely injured.

From my experience, I've seen quite a few Hampton Jitneys in my day . . .


W.B.:

I was thinking along the same lines as you (may the late victim RIP)

IMHO, between reckless, often-unlicensed jitney drivers barreling along hell-bent-for-leather, and mindless, clueless pedestrians with their heads down, totally absorbed in their phones to pay attention to traffic conditions while crossing the street, we truly are setting the state for some sort of tragic accident where casualties are many and serious.

Lately, I have been seeing large ad placards on the sides of NJT buses, telling blissful phone users: "HEADS UP, PHONES DOWN" (when crossing streets)

I hope I am wrong, but, IMHO, I think the situation with the jitneys (both in NY and NJ, is now too far out of hand to rectified.

I know I would not want to be an NJT or MTA driver these days; these guys really have their hands full nowadays, in so many different on the job situations, and on so many different stress-inducing levels......

"NYO"
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traildriver




Joined: 26 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="W.B. Fishbowl
From my experience, I've seen quite a few Hampton Jitneys in my day . . .[/quote]

I would say that the Hampton Jitney is an entirely different class of 'jitney'...
I sometimes wonder why such a quality coach operation like them, chose that name, which to me is somewhat derogatory....
I suppose it 'sounded cool' to their owner at the time.... Confused
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 5469
Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

traildriver wrote:
[quote="W.B. Fishbowl
From my experience, I've seen quite a few Hampton Jitneys in my day . . .


I would say that the Hampton Jitney is an entirely different class of 'jitney'...
I sometimes wonder why such a quality coach operation like them, chose that name, which to me is somewhat derogatory....
I suppose it 'sounded cool' to their owner at the time.... Confused[/quote]

traildriver/W.B.:

I hope you will find this "historical backtrack" of interest........

Back in the heyday of the American streetcar, jitneys began roaming the streets, prior to WW1; in fact, by 1915, an estimated 700 were cruising the streets of Los Angeles, liking to grab up business that had been, exclusively, that of the streetcar.

Soon enough, to the dismay of street railway executives, the "flivver" jitneys were soon rapidly increasing in numbers in both Midwest and Eastern cities; in a frightening vision of things to come in future decades, New Jersey became a hotbed of jitney activity, trying to nail the lion's share of the thousands of fares registered by PSNJ every day, especially in the Newark area (this was, at the time, the busiest of PSNJ's divisions, the ESSEX Division)

Eerily enough, the jitneys (like today) kept no schedules, held no standards, and fought tooth and nail during rush hours to grab up fares that would have been that of the streetcars.

So great was the "jitney craze", prior to 1920, that many a disgruntled factory employee, told his slave-driver boss he could go elsewhere, invested his savings, bought a second-hand flivver, and gave the "jitney driver thing" a whirl......

(from "TROLLEY CAR TREASURY", Rowsome, 1956)

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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