Two longtime companies close

Reduced ridership and difficulty in recruiting drivers cited

During the same week in February, two longtime East Coast transit companies shut their doors. Bieber Transportation Group abruptly stopped running buses Feb. 8 after a 72-year run. A few days later, on Feb. 10, Kelley Transit also closed its doors, marking the end of the 159-year transportation service that began with horse-drawn carriages.

Steven G. Haddad, Bieber owner and president, blamed his company’s decision on reduced ridership and mounting expenses, The Morning Call reported. Based in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the company operated intercity commuter buses, charter buses, and tours. It was evicted in July from the Port Authority Bus Terminal over $214,000 in unpaid bills. Since then, Bieber amassed $91,000 in fines for parking illegally in New York City to pick up and drop off commuters. Bieber owed millions to creditors and the IRS. Haddad bought the company in 2001 from Carl R. Bieber Jr., whose father started the business in 1946.

Kelley Transit started in the business of hauling water hoses in horse-drawn carriages and evolved into comfortable tour trips. Sources close to the Torrington, Connecticut, company said the closure was triggered by a shortage of certified drivers, the Republican-American reported.

Owner John Nason worked in the transportation industry for 24 years before purchasing the company from the Kelley family in 2005. Under his ownership, Kelley Transit continued to run commuter routes, buses for local transit and charter services. The company was founded in 1860 by Edward Kelley, an Irish immigrant who was the city’s first freight agent and baggage master.  

Offering a hand 

Shortly after the Bieber announcement, several regional bus companies stepped in to fill the void left in transportation between Philadelphia and New York City. Klein Transportation announced plans to partner with OurBus to provide daily express bus service along Bieber’s previous route. Trans-Bridge also said its buses and those from Fullington Trailways, Martz Trailways and Greyhound Bus would provide routes to facilitate needs. Clydesdale Lines and Transport Azumah additional announced plans for extra routes.

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