If only for a fleeting moment, multiple transit connections between Bayonne and Staten Island.

The Port Authority’s 743 million dollar project to raise the Bayonne Bridge means that until 2017, the walkway used by pedestrians and bicyclists will be closed, cutting off the only pedestrian link between Hudson County and Staten Island.

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Staten Island and Bayonne are right across the water from each other, but unless you have a car at your disposal, it’s very difficult to reach one from the other.  A peak-only bus connection is the only public transportation available.

Because of the closure of the bike/pedestrian path, the Port Authority has offered a weekend, summertime-only shuttle connecting the two sides of the bridge.  This might be the first there have been multiple transit connections across the bridge, or that transit from Staten Island to Bayonne has been available on the weekend.

The service is mostly oriented towards a recreational crowd-  the type that would usually bike over the bridge.  It operates Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 8am-8pm. The stops are at either end of the path, at 1st Street in Bayonne and John Street in Staten Island. Neither is especially convenient for connections to transit.  The Bayonne stop is about 1 mile from the light rail.

The free shuttle (more of a van than a bus), despite its imperfections, has still received decent patronage. In 2013, its first year of operations, the shuttle averaged either 171 or 206 passengers every weekend, depending how one interprets the Port Authority’s statement.

An optimist would see this as the start of regular transit service between Bayonne and Staten Island, but the service is scheduled to end this year after October.  And after the bridge is permanently raised and the bike path reopens, it will shut down for good.

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