NJ Transit operated the bus service it promised to and from the American Dream retail and entertainment complex on Friday, but for some bus operators, it was the loneliest job in town.
In some cases, buses arrived at the complex with no one on board. For lucky riders like me, I got a private ride on the largest NJ Transit limousine. Despite the threat of back-ups at the New Jersey Turnpike, and crowds swarming public transportation options, I was the only cyclist on the shuttle from Secaucus to American Dream and Nickelodeon Universe when it opened its doors at 1
I had a problem before the trip even started when I could not use the Trip Planner or My Bus features on his smartphone app, which I am a regular user of. Inserting American Dream got no results. NJ Transit spokeswoman Lisa Torbic came to the rescue and said that the version of the app on my phone – which you need to set up an account to use – had to be updated.
When that error was conquered, I took a train to Secaucus Junction. NJ Transit had many ambassadors to guide us, ok, me, to buses. The bus stop 356 is literally the first thing after I left the building.
I boarded the bus and had a private tour for myself. No one else was on board. An employee was overheard saying that there were three people and five buses from 10am
My ride from Secaucus train station took under 15 minutes, door to door. The bus ride was non-stop and seamless, cutting through industrial areas in Secaucus before arriving on Route 3 west near Berry's Creek Bridge.
The challenging part was the trip from the bus stop, next to the Izod Center to American Dream. Once you get off the bus, you are on your own without a sign directing entertainment seekers to the open section of the mall – the Nickelodeon Universe theme park and the ice rink.
I did the most unkindness and asked for directions. A security worker asked me to walk along the perimeter of the sad Izod Center towards a parking deck because it was separate from the traffic. Safety first. It worked until I ran out of walkways. Another security guard led me through a parking garage to an escalator. The walking time was five minutes.
At the top of the stairs, it smelled like party-retail entertainment nirvana. OK, more like a new car. NJ Transit bus stops are marked by large flashing signposts for the highway.
After 10:30 am, bus riders were greeted by vans that brought them to American Dream.
Among them were Diana Alexander and Walter Kvedar of Bayonne took the Hudson -Bergen Light Rail to the 85 bus in Hoboken for the American Dream.
"The trip was not too bad," Alexander said, adding that they do not have a car.
But even if they did, Kvedar said that they can consider the bus to avoid traffic, since he has experienced riding it with others.
"We came to see it," he said. "She wanted to come on a weekday to avoid the rush of children."
I rode the 85 bus back, and it took the "scenic" route and meandered through the Mill Creek and Union City shopping center on the way to Hoboken, where buyers can connect to the Hudson-Bergen railroad train. It is a 54 minute walk to the end.
A couple who got on the American Dream 85 bus almost stopped at the next stop at the Mill Creek shopping mall in Secaucus, perhaps to scratch a detail itch that "Dream" couldn't satisfy until next month. Mill Creek where it picked up more people than it got on at the mega center.
For other people, the bus provided the last, spontaneous alternative.
Gage Gomez of Islip, Long Island said he rode a bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal after coming out of class at City College Manhattan.
"It was very easy and super convenient," he said.
Gomez said he joined some friends at American Dream.
The word came around, it's a pretty cool attraction, "he said.
Planners trust that several are using the transit option to reduce the potential for gridlock on Route 3 to and from the American Dream. Rail transport to the mega center is indefinite. [1 9659032] An alternative to driving a ferry to a shuttle starts operations on Monday.
Finally, the American Dream Center will feature a DreamWorks water park, massive indoor ski slope called Big SNOW, more than 350 retailers and 100 dining establishments, an aquarium, LEGOLand Discovery Center, CMX Luxury Movie Theater, Kidzania and a 300-foot observation wheel. The next attraction will open in a three-story candy store, IT & # 39; SUGAR, November 7.
But for now, visitors must be happy to check out Nickelodeon Universe, the ice rink and a small sliver of the mall between the two attractions.
See more of our ongoing coverage of the American Dream mall here .
Larry Higgs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @commutinglarry . Find NJ.com on Facebook . Do you have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips .
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