Passengers on NJ Transit’s No. 113 Express bus were taken on a ride from hell during Thursday’s morning rush when a lost driver took a really scenic route to New York, leaving commuters nearly two hours late for work.
The express from Dunellen to the Port Authority Bus Terminal became a local — and then some.
Passenger Aileen Iosso sent this text to her boss: "I don’t know where I am and I don’t know when I’ll be in."
She said she boarded her usual express bus in Cranford around 7 a.m.
, expecting to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan by the usual 7:39 a.m.
The bus didn’t get there until 9:22 a.m.
, according to NJ Transit, which publicly expressed regret.
"We apologize to our customers for their experience
and we plan on reaching out to them," said Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for the statewide transportation agency. "Appropriate action will be taken pending the outcome of the investigation."
She said other passengers on the 113 Express contacted NJ Transit about the trip.
The driver’s name was not released.
Iosso said that once she boards the bus in Cranford, it usually heads up the eastern spur of the New Jersey Turnpike and straight into New York — a 23-mile trip that usually takes 45 minutes.
But passengers said the bus driver diverted off course Thursday.
During the convoluted trip, Iosso said, the bus was on Route 3, went by the Secaucus Junction train station on the Turnpike "three or four times,"
passed the Secaucus outlets and pulled over before the entrance to the George Washington Bridge. "People were trying to help her, but she wouldn’t listen,"
Iosso said of the driver.
She said the bus crossed the bridge and the driver was directed down the West Side Highway in Manhattan, but stopped to ask where she could find the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Iosso said that after the bus went past the terminal on 42nd Street, passengers asked to be let off
, prompting the driver to yell back: "Are you threatening me?!
The driver eventually pulled over on 42nd Street and dropped off passengers at the curbside, Iosso said. "We felt like we were being held hostage,"
Iosso said after the trip ended.
Ironically, Iosso said she was ready to board a different bus at the Cranford stop Thursday morning.
But that one was standing-room-only, so she decided to wait for the next one — the one that turned a 45-minute trip into a 148-minute one
She usually doesn’t get on a standing-room only bus when another bus is in sight. But upon reflection, she noted: "I wish I did today." http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/201...ours_late.html