With ‘Nobody Going to Work,’ Private Bus Companies Are Worried About the Future

In the Midwest, Indian Trails, another long-running, family-owned company, suspended all of its service in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin in late March.

In early August, it resumed some of its routes after receiving a share of the emergency federal aid that Congress gave to the transportation departments in Michigan and Wisconsin. But other routes, including commuter service between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich., remained suspended.

Coach USA, one of the biggest private bus companies in the country, said a survey of its customers found that more than two-thirds of them planned to resume commuting in July. But in early August, ridership on its lines that connect New York and New Jersey was still down about 90 percent, said Sean Hughes, a spokesman for the company.

On its Short Line and Rockland Coaches that serve suburban communities in New York State and New Jersey, Coach suspended several lines. On others, it cut the number of daily runs from as many as 20 to as few as three.

All of these cutbacks have left some commuters, like Ramie Faris, in the lurch.

Mr. Faris, 31, and his wife bought a house in Bloomfield, N.J., a year ago because it was only a block from a DeCamp bus stop, he said. After working from home for three months at the outset of the pandemic, Mr. Faris resumed commuting this summer to his job as a commercial photographer in Manhattan.

The buses had been less than half-full, and passengers spread out and wore face masks, he said. Best of all, the ride into the city took just 20 minutes, less than half the time it took when traffic was heavy.

Then, on Aug. 5, DeCamp surprised him and its other remaining riders by announcing on social media that it would cease operations indefinitely at the end of that week.

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