The sudden closure this weekend of Bieber Transportation could have left many Greater Lehigh Valley commuters to New York and Philadelphia without a ride into work this morning.
But some quick scrambling by several different regional transportation service providers got at least some commuters where they needed to go.
Axel Hellman, co-founder of OurBus of New York City, said someone emailed him around 7 p.m. to alert him of Bieber’s shutdown.
“By 7:05 I started reaching out to the charter bus companies I knew in the area,” he said. “We knew there’d be commuters Monday morning needing a ride.”
Through a lot of work and a lot of cooperation, OurBus partnered with Kline Transportation of Douglasville and A-1 Limousine of Whitehall to pick up some of the former Bieber routes.
Hellman said he received great cooperation from places like Boscov’s North Reading and Kutztown University in Kutztown to allow commuters to park and pick up busses on their property.
He said some commuters were even proactive in reaching out to his service to see if anything could be done to get service to their destination.
OurBus, a relatively new company, has been serving the Lehigh Valley since September when it began offering bus service between Allentown and Washington, D.C.
OurBus isn’t a bus company, but a tech company that uses data analytics and chartered bus service to find gaps in transportation offerings and develop new service lines.
Hellman said Bieber’s sudden closure allowed OurBus to show what they can do, and Hellman said as the different transportation groups continue to work together to hammer out the best service plans, they may even be able to improve service.
“This is a blank slate moment,” Hellman said.
He said he had the other transportation partners will look to see if there are better routes, better stops and ways technology can help improve commutes through such services as online ticketing and online travel updates.
As it stands now, Klein will handle Berks County stops as well as stops in Wescosville and Hellertown.
A-1 will be providing service to Allentown Bethlehem and Quakertown.
Both will have service to New York City and Philadelphia.
Hellman said he is also in talks with other bus companies to see where other routes and departures can be added and he hopes this will be a great opportunity for his company to show what it can do and expand its presence in the region.
For the latest available routes go to www.ourbus.com.