By Samantha Salomon and Raghava Lakshminarayana
Only a few number of 7Bus and Hampton Luxury Liner customers are being refunded after their parent company, Classic Coach, was forced to liquidate their assets due to a six-month long bankruptcy process.
The New York City based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and suspended its services after Labor Day. A federal bankruptcy judge in Central Islip approved an auction to sell the 27 vehicles belonging to the three bus lines. The auctioneer set a minimum reserve of $2.35 million from the auction which is said to be held in mid-October.
“They were great partners for five years,” Mareza Larizadeh, founder and CEO of Pulsd, a New York City-based event service which worked with Classic Coach, said. “But we are suffering financially because of the cancellations.” Larizadeh said that Pulsd has refunded its customers who booked tickets with the Hampton Luxury Liner, out of pocket. “It was a lot more [money] than what was disclosed to the other newspaper,” Larizadeh said. Newsday reported that Pulsd had refunded its customers $3,400.
“It was a very good company to work with,” Peter Carey, a representative for Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, said. Osprey’s Dominion Vineyard worked with Hampton Luxury Liner for three years before its staff read about the bankruptcy in the newspaper. Carey explained that the bankruptcy hasn’t affected the vineyard’s business because it uses more than just one bus company.
Bus fares were cheaper than train tickets. 7Bus tickets started at $7, while a Long Island Rail Road ticket to Penn Station costs more than $10. The lines carried riders to the Hamptons and brought commuters to and from Manhattan. Convenience and cost appealed to both potential business partners and customers.
The busses provided its riders with free WiFi, plasma monitors, reclining leather seats, a newsstand library and personal power outlets. The services provided by Classic Coach Company were not only limited to businesses. Long Island universities, Hofstra and Stony Brook, worked alongside the 7Bus to offer their students another way of getting to and from New York City.
“We stopped working with them over a year ago,” a Hofstra University representative said. The representative explained that there wasn’t enough ridership to continue working with the 7Bus, because most students would either drive to campus or take the Long Island Rail Road from the Hempstead station.
Stony Brook University has 8,170 undergraduate commuter students and 8,441 graduate commuter students, according to the SBU Office of Institutional Research, Planning Effectiveness. That is 16,611 commuter students of Stony Brook’s 25,272 entire student population.
“The 7Bus was already dropping the number of rounds that it was doing anyway and was down to once a day,” Emily Snyder, Assistant Director of Stony Brook’s Commuter Student Services, said, “The railroad is the alternative, it comes from as far out as Penn Station.”
“I have seen several cases where students now had to wait longer intervals to return home because they had missed the train. The 7 Bus provided alternative times for many commuter students to utilize if the train schedule did not fit with their own agenda,” James Vassallo, the President of Stony Brook’s Commuter Student Association, said.
“I took the 7Bus almost every single work day…it was a lot more convenient because I could just take the subway to a closer location, at Rego Park, and then just get on the bus,” Xiao Yuan, a Stony Brook University student, said.
After the bankruptcy Yuan will have to find others means for transportation.