NEW BEDFORD Mass. (WPRI) — DATTCO announced last week it will stop offering its New Bedford-Boston bus service next month, posing a major setback for those who rely on the route.
The decision was made based on DATTCO’s ongoing financial struggles, according to the company. The service will officially stop running on April 16.
“This is a decision we have struggled with for several months as we looked at options to both reduce our operating costs and increase fares substantially,” DATTCO said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we have not found a solution that would provide a cost-effective commute option for you, our passengers, while overcoming the deficit we have been experiencing for several years.”
“We are taking steps to ensure continuity of the service through this date and hope this provides ample time for you to find an alternative to our service,” the statement continued.
Mickey Santos, a frequent passenger, said the move to leave the Whaling City is a blow to transportation services.
“It’s an awful drive behind the wheel of a car,” he said. “It’s sometimes the only transportation people do have to get up to Boston.”
“This city has given DATTCO a lot,” he continued. “Is that what you do in the end? Just walk away from the people?”
Keeping the route running has resulted in more than $1 million in company losses over the past five years and about $30,000 in losses per month, DATTCO spokesperson Dennis Lyons told 12 News.
“Not enough people ride the bus,” Lyons said. “We can’t afford to keep hemorrhaging losses.”
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said he’s “troubled” by the decision and that the city wasn’t given enough notice. He also said it could cause residents to have to quit their jobs.
“DATTCO gave just three weeks’ notice to residents now scrambling for alternate transportation options,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Equally inexcusable is DATTCO’s lack of any engagement with the city, which would have been open to discussions regarding the possible takeover of affected routes by another carrier in a way that provides for a seamless transition.”
Mitchell said the city is now working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to rectify the situation.