A press conference regarding the issue was held Tuesday morning at 56th Street and Boulevard East in West New York, the site of the July 30 crash which killed Angelie after a light pole the driver hit with his bus crashed into the child's stroller. The driver, Idowu Daramola of Queens, N.Y., has been charged with using a cell phone while driving, and other offenses.
U.S. Representative Albio Sires (D-West New York), State Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco (D-32), State Assembly Members Vincent Prieto (D-32), Charles Mainor (D-31) and Angelica Jimenez (D-32), West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari were among those who attended.
The legislators said that tougher regulations for drivers and bus companies, greater monitoring of them, increased police enforcement, and help from the public in identifying bad drivers were all needed.
Sacco said problems with the jitneys and other small buses have existed since the 1980s.
“A program of pulling vans off the road and inspecting them had found things that were absolutely grotesque,” he said, including a lack of, or expired, licenses, no insurance coverage, and unmaintained vehicles.
“I was mayor of this town for 12 years, and we had issues with these things,” said Sires. He called for better coordination between local, state and federal bodies to thwart the problem. “We have a meeting with the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to see what we can do here.”
Several news reports over the years have noted that surprise inspections of the jitneys -- which are usually less expensive for local commuters than the NJ Transit buses traveling between Hudson County and New York City -- have often found violations.
Schillari urged the public to get involved by communicating with his office, either by calling its tipline, (201) 332-HCSO (4276), or emailing its website, www.hudsoncountysheriff.org, to report problem bus drivers.