A rural municipality whose residents endure some of the longest commutes in New Jersey is getting a big assist.
Starting next Monday, a 56-seat bus from Paramus-based Coach USA will be making a direct trip between Vernon and midtown Manhattan, about 48 miles apart, once per day in each direction on weekdays.
The bus will leave Vernon Valley Plaza on Route 515 at 6:45 a.m., with an estimated 8:25 a.m. arrival time at the first of four midtown stops. It will depart from 42nd Street and 1st Avenue for Vernon at 5:15 p.m.
Coach USA is offering the new route on a 60-day trial basis, said Sean Hughes, the company’s director of corporate affairs. It will use four highways — Routes 23, 94, 80 and 495 — en route to and from Manhattan.
Asked about the origin of the pilot program, Hughes said Coach USA took an interest upon seeing a news report in which Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway lamented the township’s commuting woes.
Residents of Vernon had the 5th-longest commutes in N.J., averaging 41.9 minutes each way, according to the most recent U.S. Census data from 2012 to 2016.
Hughes said the company reached out to U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, whose district includes Vernon, and asked him to coordinate a meeting with Shortway.