6:25 pm: After procuring replacement for cancelled babysitter, arrive at Watchung Plaza for 6:35 DeCamp bus to make 8 pm curtain for Mario Cantone’s one-man Broadway show "Laugh Whore"

6:40 pm: Still no bus.

6:50 pm: Call to Decamp from cell phone yields the following response "the driver’s having trouble, but he’ll be there."

6:55 pm: Fellow DeCamp rider mentions cryptically that yesterday, the same bus didn’t arrive until 8 pm (on a day with no rain).

7:06 pm: Panicked call to Montclair Taxi for ride to the city. Quoted price of $57 plus tolls. Car will be there shortly.

7:09 pm: Run to ATM machine in liquor store to get money for exorbitant cab ride.

7:10 pm: Exit liquor store to see bus driving away.

7:12 pm: Spy a cab crossing Plaza intersection; frantically pull it over. Hop in.

7:14 pm: Exit cab after driver says "I can’t take you, I’m supposed to be picking up a fare on Harvard Street."

7:15 pm: Back at the Plaza, see what looks like a cab driving towards Watchung train station. Make a run for the cab.

7:16 pm: Jump in cab; find out that the dispatcher quoted the wrong price. Cab fare will be $67 plus tolls. Tell driver to get me to Manhattan by 8 pm.

8:05 pm: Reach 48th Street; run half block to Cort Theatre. Miss opening number, but settle in for what turns out to be a great show. Spend intermission cursing DeCamp and plotting revenge.

Post your Unhappy DeCamper story here; tale that beats this one, gets a Barista mug and a pack of chocolate Twizzlers.

Liz George is the publisher of Montclair Local. liz@montclairlocal.news

13 replies on “You Are Now Entering DeCamp Hell”

  1. We’ve only ridden DeCamp once. The MidTown Direct train is literally 50 feet from our door, so we took that. THe one time we did take DeCamp, it was EXTREMELY HOT inside. Everyone was fanning themselves, etc. I ended up getting off the bus way early b/c I felt sick to my stomach.

  2. PULEEZ! My blood pressure goes up 20 points when I even think about DeCamp. If you could look up “poorly run company” in the dictionary, it would be there.

  3. At least they showed up…I once waited 3 hours, missed the yankee games I was trying to get to and when I called was shrugged off and told that guy was sick today so no bus at all.

  4. How about the time I got on the bus with my toddler and umbrella stroller, only to be flung on my face as the driver (purposely?) floored the gas pedal before I was able to get my child and I to our seats? Or the two times I was studiously ignored by both driver and passengers when (while 5 months pregnant) I fainted in my seat? I could go on…you learn a lot about human nature from commuting!

  5. I’ve heard DeCamp is the reason the Montclair/Boonton line doesn’t run on weekends. Is this true?

  6. I am not a regular commuter–but i have to say in all honesty, that over 35 years, whenever I have travelled into the city via DeCamp, I have never had a problem. Maybe I am just lucky……..

  7. Cshel –
    You are, indeed, freakishly lucky. Could you publish your bus schedule for the rest of us? I want to get on the same busses as you.

  8. I was a daily DeCamp 33 commuter for ten years. Many of the drivers were nasty. One driver, upon being asked to turn on the reading lights (5 :30 a.m. in winter – it’s dark)replied: “Whaddya want, a swimming pool?” He also went out of his way to pull up at the highest point of the snow mound and yell to the commuters to hurry up, already. Rumor had it he was fired on grounds of hostility. But there were helpful drivers and some were even pleasant, some quite so. On their behalf,I feel sorry about the complaints. Sal was inspired.

  9. Curious George-
    DeCamp is NOT the reason that the Montclair/Boonton line doesn’t run on weekends. The reason is an agreement reached between NJ Transit and the Township of Montclair to placate local residents who are opposd to the traffic and noise associated with weekend operation of the grade crossings. So why not run weekend service only as far west as Bay St.?

  10. I am stuck with DeCamp since the Rowe and Benson Street stations closed. I HATE THEM! Today I went to Broad/Bay in Bloomfield at 4:20 for the 4:30ish bus, watched it go by as I was approaching the corner and waving frantically. The 5:00ish bus was, of course, late, and then took the slowest possible lane into and through the tunnel, followed by a lovely tour of the West 30’s because the sadists at the PABT have decided it would be fun to close the main approach to the building at rush hour. I think the driver’s last job was operating some kind of foot-operated pump because we jerked and jolted all the way to New York. When we stopped, inexplicably, at the corner of 31st and 12th (Because that’s RIGHT NEAR the bus terminal) I told him to let me off (two other people followed me) and ran to Penn Station to catch the subway downtown. I was only 30 minutes late for class… thus my 18 mile commute took two hours. If I could find someplace in Montclair to park, I would never give the miserable people at DeCamp another nickel of my money. I am amazed that http://www.decampsucks.com has not been registered.

  11. I remember the #22 bus, the #55, and the original route #44 – all defunct. I remember an 88 bus on weekends – gone! All DeCamp does is whine like a petulant child, bemoaning its fate that the NJ Transit NY Midtown direct train is knocking down their ridership. Well, they deserve it. Instead of whining, why didn’t they do something tangible to increase their ridership – like holiday specials, like better weekend schedules [on time, with pleasant drivers], like sponsoring a suburban Essex County open house to their headquarters (with refreshments) to meet their leadership and encourage travelers to support them. Of course, Montclair is the obstructionist town that has denied NJ Transit the right to run trains on weekends into NYC. It seems the train whistles bothers the residents who want to sleep late on weekends. Therefore we in Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Montclair and West Essex are the prisoners of one public transportation entity. DeCamp has forgotten its founders’ mission. It’s a sad shadow of its heritage. For shame! Oh, and maybe the Port Authority can eliminate their back-breaking “seating” at the bus terminal and let commuters board the buses more than 4 minutes prior to departure. I can’t believe the PA so flagrantly violates the ADA and senior citizen comfort.

  12. No one is ever happy in this town. Decamp is IMMENSELY better than NJ Transit. The busses are at least clean, and the drivers can actually speak English. Not to mention that the busses get into the City in a reasonable time. It’s a major hassle to be late to work because the bus isn’t there, but honestly, you missed part of a show. Frivolity. You spent tons of money of a cab fare, poor you.
    Then the residents who live on the tracks complain of the noise. YOU CHOSE TO LIVE THERE. It’s a damn railroad track. What were you expecting? Seriously.
    You can’t please anyone.

  13. I don’t think asking that a bus company behave better than NJ Transit is too much. Decamp has been pretty good to me, but the 33 shows up on time, or at all, so rarely that I refuse to take it anymore. I’m not a commuter anymore, but the 44 was always a good ride when I was using it. I think it was 15 minutes late once or twice in 6 months.
    Once I fell asleep on their bus and ended up a long way from my stop, and they sent another bus to take me back! This was 7 years ago. Things seem to have changed.
    There’s an http://www.ihatedecamp.com blog for all you haters, it’s amusing. And reading it, I agree the service has gotten bad.

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