Hip Hoppity Desperate?

Hoboken trying to ramp up usage for traffic-clogging city vans

Recently – the city of Hoboken invited residents to “rediscover” the Hop community van program. So the city is offering FREE rides on the (slower than walking – stop at every intersection) bus, for a total of about SIX weeks!

But why are they using the phrase “rediscover” anyway? It’s not like they had a boatload of people who used to ride it, but no longer do. No way! And why would the city do such a thing for a month and a half for free?

Hop Bus desperation in Hoboken NJ dawn zimmer

One reason “Hop” rides are free for six weeks in Hoboken: Desperation

Ask anyone that drives through Union City about their community shuttle buses – and you’ll most likely get an angry profanity-laced response about how slow and annoying they are, and how they clog streets with their bloated apparatus. The Hoboken Hop bus is just the same.

Additionally, hardly anyone rides them because they’re too infrequent to be considered a “reliable” convenience. Not saying other modes of transportation are any better, but most people take taxi cabs (or Uber).

But the truth of the matter is that walking will always be the best overall mode of getting around in Hoboken. Maybe not for the few handicapped people, but there are always minor exceptions.

So the city is obviously desperate to get people to ride them with such a generous “free ride” period. Six weeks? The only way you’d be willing to give such a lengthy promotional period away is if you had nothing much to lose to begin with (i.e., minimal revenue – probably in the red on the books).

To put that point into perspective – remember the “free holiday parking?” Well, the city would NEVER give away six weeks of lost HPU revenue to get people to come shopping and support local businesses. I think they gave away just a few days, and during one of the slowest times of the year (when people travel home to their families). And they did that “under protest” for all intents and purposes (although a minority on the council tried to go to bat for our business community…)

Perhaps this is the last stand for the annoying shuttle buses, and if this fails they can just retire them gracefully, and go back to dedicated senior shuttles.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014 5:57 pm

Let’s be honest. The HOP is the Cross Town Bus. Dave Roberts introduced it. Zimmer killed it because she said the city could not afford it. She created the HOP which used the exact same vehicles to run the same routes as the Cross Town Bus.

My biggest objection is that we got 5 new buses with no thought of operating costs or the environment. The port authority, which is not known for being smart or caring about costs recently got similar buses. The purchased engines with the hardened valve train option. The option costs $750 but doubles the life of the engine. The Port authority also decided to go with buses that use compressed natural gas (CNG). Using CNG is the equivalent of buying fuel for $1.17 per gallon. Plus CNG reduces much less pollution and carbon.

It is disappointing when the City is less effective than the Port authority.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 7:58 pm

I tried to use the HOP once and the driver drove past me as I was trying to flag her down.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 3:41 pm

Previously, the shuttles used to have GPS and a schedule so one could estimate the time via the schedule or the live map. These new buses do not have a schedule(that they even attempt to follow) or a live gps map, so if you set out walking, they blow right past you if they ever even follow their route.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 2:40 pm

The Five buses at $80-$85,000 a pop( approx hal million dollars) , I believe were bonded. With the Administrations house of cards on shaky ground financially, they need to find a way to generate revenue since the Hobokenese “legal” means of generating revenue is being clamped down on. Also, there is the nasty habit of discrimination that the city can not escape and still has not mended its ways.

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