New Jersey Transit recently announced the shut down of several bus lines and one of them is a very quirky line between Butler and Newark. Many moons ago, I worked in Newark. And I lived in Wanaque. Newark was a town with seemingly hundreds of bus lines and many trains, too. But, to get to Wanaque, one could take a two-hour-plus ride on the combined trip of bus line numbers 27 and 197 or an hour-long trip on the 75.
There were many caveats to what would have seemed like the obvious choice of the 75 for my commuting needs. But, in the end it was not a bad line to take every morning and afternoon.
Read all about it after the break:
- There were four one-way trips on this line in the morning from Butler to Newark. And, four corresponding trips from Newark to Butler in the afternoon. On an average weekday, that’s not a problem. But, don’t try to have an appointment and take a half day. Don’t go to work feeling sick because you might want to go home at noon only to have to wait until 4:15 or take the 2.5 hour ride on the alternative buses that stop on every block. On September 11th, I ended up sharing a $60 cab ride to Wayne so a co-worker and I could get home because we both took buses that didn’t run on off-peak hours.
- That blonde lady. Of course, I didn’t know who she was but she made my trips hell. Apparently, many of the riders of the 75 were NJ Transit employees and Blondie was one of them. This gave them extra friendliness from the bus driver and extra “privileges.” She abused this power by making the bus driver turn up the air conditioning to Arctic Level. Now, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, I love a good Arctic blast from the A/C. I’m one of those people who wears shorts too early in the spring and refuses to wear a coat until it’s actually icy outside. But, Blondie took my breath away. Why did the bus even HAVE a setting this high? And, why did she constantly complain about it not being cold enough?? I had to take a COAT just to ride the bus in the middle of summer because of this lady. It was torture.
- Santa – another rider who got on the bus at the same stop as me and got off the bus with me, too. He looked like Santa who’d had to take a summer job. Except this Santa was rude. I took the bus with him for YEARS. Waiting at the bus stop in Wanaque every morning with him. And, waiting at the bus stop in Newark with him. For years. And he never spoke to me. I tried to engage him many times but he just stared straight ahead. I know he wasn’t mute or deaf either. He loved to chat up others on the bus. But, not me. He enraged me. He made me hate the real Santa.
Now besides the obvious “it was the most direct” point to my taking this bus, there were also some good things about it.
- Clearly, NJT has needed to get rid of this bus for a long time. I literally never had to sit with anyone on this bus. That meant that at the height of rush hour EVERY SINGLE DAY, they never had more than 26 riders. Every day I could get on and find an empty seat. And, they never picked up people once we left Newark so I knew no one would ever plop down next to me either. In that sense, it was bliss.
- Possibly because so many transit workers rode this bus, maybe because it went express for awhile down 280, who knows the real reason why we got the new fancy buses and not the usual Newark buses. This was right when a new fleet of buses was coming out and we always got a top of the line cushy bus. No squealing brakes, no graffiti, super plush seats. Heaven on a bus. It almost felt like we were in a tour bus. If it weren’t for Blondie making the driver turn up the air for her and the other polar bears.
I miss working in Newark and hearing that the 75 line is finally going to the bus garage in the sky makes me a little sad. Hopefully, Blondie and Santa can find alternate transportation.
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