2003-09-26 / Front Page

Newborn Bus Service Has ‘Hiccups’

By Brian Magoolaghan
Newborn Bus Service Has ‘Hiccups’ By Brian Magoolaghan

The future of the new private commuter bus service to Manhattan is uncertain as low ridership, personnel and mechanical problems have made the first three weeks difficult for straphangers and unprofitable for the service provider.

The Wave contacted Carson Horizon Tours (CHT) after it received complaint calls, and heard negative word-on-the-street. A company spokesperson confirmed that there have been problems, but said they are working to provide a comfortable, reliable transportation alternative.

"Every business that starts off has a hiccup," said Michael Geller, vice president at CHT. Gellar said that there had been a problem with at least one driver and that service has not been 100 percent reliable.

"There were two days when we were really in trouble," Geller said. He also confirmed that service was cancelled this Monday, because the bus needed a fuel filter replacement. CHT tried to rent a mini-bus, in order to maintain service that day, but was unsuccessful, Geller said.

For its inaugural trip, CHT had four buses ready to roll commuters out of Rockaway, but now, with just about 20 riders per day, there is just one bus, Geller said.

"We’re not giving up," Geller said, despite the bumps in the road.

But he may not have a choice. Many of the bus owners are ready to throw in the towel, he said, because the service has been "a flat-out losing proposition."

Geller said it is not easy to convince people to switch from service that they are unhappy but familiar with. He hopes that people will try the service, like the comfortable seats and the convenience of an onboard bathroom, and return.

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