Illinois-based transit company National Express has purchased New Dawn Transit — which residents have long griped about because of the constant noise and pollution from its fleet of buses — and locals are now warily optimistic about seeing some improvement, said the president of the Bergen Beach Civic Association.
“Only a fool would say, ‘No, that we’re not hopeful.’ The Bergen Beach community is forever hopeful that things will finally be able to move in the right direction,” said Michael Benjamin. “If they put more buses, it will make it worse, if they put less buses it will make it better. The devil is in the details, we haven’t seen the details.”
National Express finalized the deal at the beginning of the year to acquire the Bergen Beach-based company, which transports students all over the city in more than 220 school buses as part of its contract with the Department of Education. Drivers and the rest of the team were all retained, said a company spokeswoman.
National Express will still store its fleets in the depot between Avenues X and Y — land owned by developer Alex Forkosh who wants to rezone it for condos — but will launch new buses later in the year and perform regular maintenance to ensure they are all in top shape, the spokeswoman said.
And locals who live nearby have confidence in the new company’s ability to run more smoothly, said E. 69th Street resident Kay, who asked his last name not be used.
“I can almost assure myself that National Express is going to be more compliant with certain regulations that were kind of swept under the rug,” he said.
But even with the change in ownership, it’s nearly impossible for all of the pollution and noise problems that have flooded the area to go away, so long as it’s still home to all those buses, said Benjamin.
“But the ultimate best solution is that there be no buses there, even a little pollution is not good for any bodies lungs especially for children,” he said.