DeCamp Vice President To Meet With Public At Forum in Bloomfield

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 5:12pm  |  COMMENTS (24)

DeCamp Owner To Meet With Public At Forum in BloomfieldWe’e written about DeCamp dissatisfaction again and again. Now frustrated DeCamp riders who have emailed and tweeted have an opportunity to voice their complaints in person to DeCamp.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo and Bloomfield councilman Nick Joanow have invited Jonathan DeCamp, vice president of DeCamp bus line to attend a forum to address the concerns of residents. The forum will take place on Wednesday, April 30th at 7:30 p.m. at the I—HOP conference room on Broad Street in Bloomfield. From the announcement:

We have previously met with the owner who has expressed a willingness to work cooperatively with the public to consider all suggestions and implement recommendations that will improve service. This forum will provide you the opportunity in an informal venue to ask questions, make recommendations that certainly will have an impact on future service. Please share with your friends and neighbors. Assemblyman Caputo and Councilman Joanow will look forward to your participation at this meeting.

Councilman Nick Joanow, who has heard from frustrated constituents, hopes the forum will allow for concerns to be heard and for a constructive dialogue to occur.

24 Comments

  1. POSTED BY budmanzz  |  April 03, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

    He’ll probably be 20 minutes late…

    But seriously. 7:30pm on a Wednesday evening ensures that the people affected the most can’t even make it – unless they choose to ride DeCamp directly to IHOP that evening.

  2. POSTED BY stayhyphy  |  April 03, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

    Complaints are useless, I’d suggest an ultimatum. Improve service in 30 days or you stop riding.

  3. POSTED BY walleroo  |  April 03, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

    He’ll probably be 20 minutes late…

    Hahahaha!

  4. POSTED BY redrum  |  April 04, 2014 @ 8:00 am

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in the fact that DeCamp, known for poor service, wants to have a meeting in a place known for such poor service? They could rename the place International Hostile Onslaught of Passengers.

  5. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  April 04, 2014 @ 9:52 am

    I doubt that there will be enough seating at the IHOP. The Joanow meetings have been fimed in the past by Bloomfield’s WBMA (yep the taxpayers are paying for it).

    If you can’t attend a link will be posted once the video is available – usually a day or two.

    Incidentally Bloomfield Councilman Joanow is running for re-election (he declared just this week) and I don’t understand why the taxpayers are footing the bill for his effort to promote his candidacy.

  6. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  April 04, 2014 @ 10:24 am

    “He’ll probably be 20 minutes late…”

    LOL! You get my nomination for Featured Comment.

  7. POSTED BY jasmith4  |  April 04, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

    I have written in the past concerning DeCamp Bus Lines and its awful service, and unfortunately it continues, and it has continued over the log term. To be fair, DeCamp did create a Twitter account on or about May 24 last year, and they do tweet its followers quite often about the status of service, e.g., due to tunnel closings, the recent inclement weather, etc. I follow it and have set it up to notify my phone at their every tweet.

    But the first tweet every weekday morning is quite often one which lists a number of buses either cancelled or delayed, most often due to “operator difficulties” — whatever that is. It seems to me they need some new early risers among their ranks! Especially since they never send such lists in the evening, while occasionally they send other tweets, e.g., about traffic conditions.

    Now, to be fair again, I’ve spoken with a number of bus drivers I’ve befriended over the years, and they all point to one person, the dispatcher Terence. He seems to be the main reason that there are so many delays — only he sends drivers out to begin their runs mere minutes before the runs start, resulting in natural delays.

    I have prepared a statistical analysis of every tweet DeCamp has ever sent, again, since May 24, 2013 — the direct source is at https://twitter.com/DeCampBusLines for your perusal, and FYE quite a bit of uncompromising criticism is at https://twitter.com/DeCampBusRider. To be fair once again, the analysis is not exact: I simply counted in each tweet how many buses are mentioned and how many times the words “cancelled”, “delayed” and “not operating” are used, then took daily and weekly statistics. Nevertheless some results are alarming:

    – The worst week overall was Feb 10-15, 2014 with 4.4 cancelled or delayed buses per day. But that was during very bad weather.
    – During the week of March 24-28, 2014 (last week) there were 3.2 cancelled or delayed buses per day. And that was NOT during very bad weather.
    – During the week of June 9-14, 2013, there were 3.4 cancelled or delayed buses per day; 3.2 the previous week. And that was in summer!

    Overall:
    – From May 24 to the end of 2013, an average of one morning-rush bus every day was either cancelled or delayed.
    – This year so far, that has more than doubled, to 2.3 buses a day.

    My full analysis is attached and can also be found at https://upload.comcast.net/~jasmith4/DecampTweets.xls, which is an Excel spreadsheet.

    In short, DeCamp continues to SUCK. They SUCK consistently, they SUCK constantly, they SUCK every day, and my analysis proves how badly they have SUCKED for the time period from May 24 last year until now. But trust me, as a rider of some 20 years now, they’ve SUCKED this badly the whole time.

  8. POSTED BY Pork Roll  |  April 04, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

    Councilman Nick Joanow’s town hall meetings typically run from 7:30pm until 9:00pm. This one will probably run until 9pm as well, so anyone who can’t make it at 7:30pm on the dot because they still on the way home should stop by when they get back to town.

    DeCamp’s service issues have been well documented here on Baristanet and elsewhere over the past several years. Riders’ complaints have the ear of not only Councilman Joanow, but state Assemblyman Caputo and state Senator Rice. It remains to be seen what comes of this meeting, but the fact that Jonathan DeCamp will be attending this forum may be a positive step in the right direction.

    This is your chance to vent your concerns and complaints directly to the person who has the power to act on them, and the elected officials with the clout to act if those complaints remain unresolved. I would encourage everyone to avail themselves of this opportunity to have their voices heard.

  9. POSTED BY jasmith4  |  April 04, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

    FYI I emailed the above long commentary with all links to every Email address for every politician I could find from the web sites of every town DeCamp “serves” — every mayor, every town clerk/administrator, every councilperson and every DPW person: Montclair, Bloomfield, Nutley, all Caldwells and Oranges, Belleville, Verona, Lyndhurst, Kearny, Harrison, you name it.

    I also put it up on NJ.com as an event. Let’s scare the hell out of Jon DeCamp with our numbers and our voices!

  10. POSTED BY Pork Roll  |  April 04, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    jasmith4, the link for your spreadsheet is not correct.

  11. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  April 05, 2014 @ 2:28 am

    The 33 goes right by the IHOP

  12. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  April 05, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

    Well, it’s a start. In my 15 years of riding the bus, no one from DeCamp has every appeared in person to address the multitude of problems facing commuters. So, it may not be a convenient time for many, it may not be an ideal location, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  13. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  April 06, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

    What clout do these elected officials have- they have done NOTHING about Decamp in the 28 years that I have lived here. Porkroll – don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

  14. POSTED BY walleroo  |  April 06, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

    Wow, jasmith, I am impressed by your industry. I hope it has the desired effect, but I doubt it will.

    Someone ought to run a statistical analysis Bnet posters–who’s a d*ck, how d*ckishness correlates with weather and other factors. Now there’s a rich data set!

  15. POSTED BY walleroo  |  April 06, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

    Btw, I sincerely do not mean to imply that jasmith is a d*ck, so please do not infer as much from any seeming connection between those paragraphs above.

  16. POSTED BY Pork Roll  |  April 07, 2014 @ 12:19 am

    Pat, I don’t know where you got the idea that I was promising anything (what am I promising, anyway?), I was merely making an observation about the attention that now seems to be focused on the DeCamp service issues.

    I don’t know what has transpired over the past 28 years, but as Mrs. Martta notes, Jonathan DeCamp appearing in person may be the most responsive the company has ever been to the long history of complaints about their service, and may be the first (and long overdue) step in the right direction.

    That these concerns have persisted for so long is all the more reason for folks to take advantage of this opportunity during which they will have the undivided attention of Jonathan DeCamp, Assemblyman Caputo and Councilman Joanow, and whoever else might show up (I hope that elected officials in other towns served by DeCamp get wind of this and show up as well to advocate for their residents).

  17. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  April 07, 2014 @ 7:11 am

    In porkroll’s first post he claims that Senator Rice will attend. Has Rice cancelled?

    Come and vent but realize that DeCamp has heard all of this before and many times – they don’t care and there appears to be nothing that our elected officials can and will do to correct the situation

  18. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  April 07, 2014 @ 7:23 am

    I don’t have all the answers but I have never seen a business go out of its way to alienate and piss off its customers as much as DeCamp has done. If they gave out blue ribbons for this category, they would surely win. If I owned a business, I would go out of my way to make sure my customers were happy and I would want my public persona to reflect that. I think that lack of competition has something to do with this as DeCamp, for many bus commuters, is the only game in town. I don’t like situations where there is not only no competition but that competition is not even allowed!

  19. POSTED BY redrum  |  April 07, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    I know I’ve posted about this before, but both DeCamp and NJT have a perfect symbiosis of providing substandard service to the Montclair area. Since decamp has a no-compete agreement with NJT, they can put forth absolutely no effort into their bus service as there is no risk of competition. Likewise, NJT knows how bad DeCamp is, so they don’t put any effort into improving Montclair rail service, since the alternative is so pathetic. Its a win-win for the transit agencies and a lose-lose for commuters.

  20. POSTED BY walleroo  |  April 07, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    I can’t decide which is more depressing: riding DeCamp and NJ Transit, or listening to people complain about them.

  21. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  April 07, 2014 @ 10:53 am

    NJT has no control over the tracks into Penn past Newark. Those are owned by Amtak and subject to their own needs and priorities. PATH is the ONLY commuter train tunnel that’s exclusive to commuters and that’s a century old. We need new infrastructure. If NJT had it’s own tunnels and tracks they’d be faster and would be able to handle additional volume. As it stands now, they are at capacity at rush hour. They can’t do much with limited track access. Maybe the MTA will decide to extend the number 7 across the river.

  22. POSTED BY PAZ  |  April 07, 2014 @ 10:58 am

    Why be depressed> All we need is:

    new infrastructure

    Medicare for all

    1% tax on All Wall St. transactions

    A state bank

    Nationalize the Fed Res.

    And a range-free chicken in every pot.

  23. POSTED BY jasmith4  |  April 14, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

    Assemblyman Caputo’s office has Emailed me about this meeting MOVING from 1129 Broad St. to 375 Watchung Ave., right around the corner. In fact the church at 375 shares the same parking lot as the IHOP at 375!

    Here’s the article about the change in venue:
    https://baristanet.com/2014/04/decamp-meeting-april-30-moved-larger-venue/

  24. POSTED BY jasmith4  |  October 30, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

    This is Andy Smith. Please allow me to give you readers some history on this issue, for I’m the one who started these meetings in the first place. You see, back in the fall of 2013 I stumbled onto DeCamp’s Twitter feed, @DeCampBusLines as well as an unofficial one, @DeCampBusRider — there has recently come another one, @DeCampWaitLines. I say “stumbled”, because DeCamp never publicized it much at all: I had to actively search for “decamp” on Twitter to find the above three accounts.

    Anyway, I not only started to follow @DeCampBusLines but get notifications on my phone at its every tweet, and every day I got several tweets, usually about buses cancelled. This continued for months, and I said to myself, good God, how can DeCamp call itself a bus company and have so many cancelled buses? And there were two in particular, the 7:40 from West Caldwell and the 6:50 out of Crown View, that it seems were cancelled just about every day.

    So, computer programmer and detail-stickler that I am, I took the trouble to download EVERY SINGLE TWEET from the feed’s birth on May 24, 2013 until a day before the April 30 meeting. I applied to them some text-parsing to determine which buses were cancelled every day, broke it down by week and struck daily averages per week o0f cancelled buses. My complete analysis, with a complete list of every tweet straight from the source, is at https://home.comcast.net/~jasmith4/DecampTweets.xls

    It shows some appalling numbers: the second week of February, 2014 they had 4.4 buses cancelled, on the average, EVERY DAY. OK, that was in a hellacious winter, but two of their worst weeks were between June 9 and 21 of 2013, during the SUMMER, when 3.3 buses PER DAY were cancelled! From May 24 to the end of 2013 the overall average was 1, and then from Jan 1, 2014 until April 29 the overall average was 2.3. Imagine: at least two buses cancelled EVERY DAY.

    So anyway, now that I had empirical data, I took the trouble to state from https://www.state.nj.us, find the web site of EVERY TOWN DeCamp “serves”, got Email addresses of every mayor, every town administrator, every DOT head, and every ward’s councilman or -woman in all those towns — about 100 Email addresses in all — and I sent them a letter of complaint along with the above spreadsheet line. I also sent same to Assemblyman Caputo, Senator Rice and Assemblywoman Tucker. And it was Joanow, 2nd-Ward Councilman of Bloomfield, who took the bull by the horns and started this SERIES of meetings on April 30. The video is at (https://vp.telvue.com/preview?id=T00304&video=195251), and you can find articles about that meeting here too.

    So this time around (Oct 22), having been slammed hard by yours truly and MANY others, DeCamp 1) decides not to show up; 2) doesn’t inform anyone of this decision until a week ahead of time; 3) tells its receptionists and drivers first to say it’s cancelled, then to say it doesn’t exist; 4) hired a “public relations director”, Lee Brigham, who has no phone extension or decamp.com Email address (!) to accuse Joanow of election tactics and boast that they’ll have a meeting on their own terms when WE decide, thank you very much! There’s even supposed to be some riders’ advisory board. Really? Meanwhile they never post their Email address ([email protected]) or their Twitter feed (see above).

    Do you know how expensive public relations directors are? That’s the extent to which they’ll go to NOT hear from the public. That’s the kind of money they have as they cry about how much the union forces their drivers’ wages so high. THAT’S THE KIND OF PEOPLE THEY ARE.

    So why don’t I switch? Well, I do get a bus when I need it, I do have a great regular driver (Millie on the 7:40 32 from Nutley), there are several others, and I’d rather fight than switch. I also consider it selfish to simply up and leave while drivers and other riders suffer with a bus company that still sucks, and I also don’t want to lose the right to complain about them by not patronizing them. I enjoy it, and they deserve it.

Featured Comment

And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe

Links & Information

Baristanet on Flickr

Browse all photos...