DATTCO cancels New Bedford-Boston bus line

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — Commuters in New Bedford have become frustrated after learning the DATTCO South Coast to Boston express bus line will cancel service on April 16.

DATTCO cited declining ridership in recent years that’s led to profit losses as the leading factor in its decision. In an interview with ABC 6 News Wednesday, the vice president of coach and tours for DATTCO Dennis Lyons said their losses currently total about $30,000 per month.

“We don’t have many options at this point, so we’re all scrambling here to find a way to get back and forth to work,” said Charles Hicks, who works in Boston. “We do depend on this DATTCO service, so it would be bad for us to lose it.”

Fewer people riding the bus, along with the impending arrival of MBTA commuter rail service in New Bedford later this year is why the company has decided to end its service.

But until then, passengers will be forced to find other means. For most, that will be going to the nearest existing commuter rail station in Lakeville, which is still a 30-minute drive.

“That’s still a huge inconvenience for me in the morning. I’ve been relying on this for the last year and a half,” said Anna Frederikse, who works in Boston. “I actually moved to New Bedford because there was a reliable public transit system.”

In a tweet by the city Tuesday, Mayor Jon Mitchell expressed his frustrations with the bus company and its decision to cancel service with little notice to riders, also saying there was a lack of engagement with the city to find alternative options.

When asked if a resolution could be reached that would allow for DATTCO busses to continue operating for the next few months until commuter rail service begins, DATTCO’s vice president Dennis Lyons said it’s still a possibility.

“We’ve had conversations subsequent to the notice being posted on Friday with MassDOT,” Lyons said. “We’re certainly open to that. When the train comes in the fall it’s going to push us out of business. It’s heavily subsidized and that will be the end for us. So, we’re certainly not willing to lose $30,000 a month only to be put out of business.”

The company said it has no options without raising prices for riders, service from New Bedford will end in just three weeks. Commuters, however, are still holding out hope even up against the clock that all sides will be able to come to a resolution.

“We pay money to get up there, we can’t get up there if there’s no other way. We rely on it big time,” Lynn Chumack said.

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