The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has issued Notices of Violation to 17 commercial autobus operators for failure to post public notices on the outside and inside vehicles about how passengers can report complaints and concerns to the Division. These commercial autobuses are commonly known as “jitneys,” “commuter vans,” or “commuter buses.”
Autobuses operating on public roads and carrying up to 40 passengers must have interior and exterior notices directing passengers to report service complaints to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The Division’s telephone number must also be provided. These notices are required under “Angelie’s Law,” a state law enacted in memory of Angelie Paredes, who was killed in July 2013 in connection with an accident caused by an autobus driver who was using his cell phone while driving.
“All travelers using commercial autobuses must be assured of their safety, as the law requires,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “Companies operating these autobuses must be in full compliance with Angelie’s Law, and we will do all we can to make sure that these companies are protecting their riders by being in full compliance.”
“Each commercial autobus must post a notice informing riders of how to report service and safety complaints,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “This requirement, among others, is designed to protect the safety of both riders and the general public.”
Acting Director Lee also noted that in February 2015, the Division of Consumer Affairs issued a consumer alert about the public notice requirement of Angelie’s Law and also mailed an advisory letter to commercial autobus operators.
The 17 commercial autobus operators issued notices of violation, along with the town or city where each is based, are as follows:
|Emelys Transportation, LLC||North Bergen|
|Community Lines, Inc.||Jersey City|
|Azael Alvarado||Jersey City|
|Marina Transit Corp.||Belleville|
|Walter Carranza||Jersey City|
|Boulevard Lines, Inc.||Ridgefield|
|Victor Lara aka VL Services||North Bergen|
|Orlando Villanuevazurita||West New York|
|Amigo Transit, LLC||Carteret|
|Samuel Salgado||North Bergen|
|Ekramy Elgendy||Union City|
|Jose Rodriguez||West New York|
|Luis Portalatinmendoza||Union City|
|Joseph Transporte, Inc.||Union City|
|Claudio Paguay||West New York|
|NV Bus Service, Inc.||North Bergen|
Each company, except for NV Bus Service, was cited for one non-compliant vehicle and issued a notice of violation imposing a $1,000 civil penalty and $176.87 for the State’s investigative costs. NV Bus Service was cited for three non-compliant vehicles and one driver who did not have the proper license for transporting passengers. The company was issued a $4,000 civil penalty and $503.61 for the State’s investigative costs.
Lead Investigator Roger Hines and Investigators Oscar Mejia, Jessica Lugo, and Brittany Kieran, under the direction of Team Leader Murat Botas, in the Office of Consumer Protection in the Division of Consumer Affairs, conducted the vehicle inspections.
The Hudson County Office of Consumer Affairs and the New Jersey State Police Motor Coach Compliance and Safety Unit participated in the inspections, along with the cooperation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit.
To learn more about Angelie’s Law, go to www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/angelieslaw.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.