Trans-Bridge temporarily suspends bus service because of COVID-19


After passenger traffic dropped by 88% due to the coronavirus pandemic, Trans-Bridge Lines of Bethlehem said is temporarily suspending all operations.

The bus company had been shifting services over the last four weeks in response to the virus, with the intent of trying to get essential workers, such as doctors, nurses and first responders to work. However, the increased spread of the virus was becoming too much of a threat to remaining drivers and passengers, and with the decreased use, the bus company was operating at a loss.

“Our desire to provide transportation for workers has now come into direct conflict with our social responsibility to do the right thing for our community,” said Tom JeBran, president, “The directives from Governor Wolf, New York and New Jersey state officials, media reports, webinars and conference calls with safety and industry organizations, have all led to the hard decision to shut down until such time we can return to normal operations. We will re-evaluate our options in two weeks.”

JeBran noted that a large part of the company’s business is trips to NYC, which has been hard hit by the virus and has closed most tourist venues. With most tourism venues closed, charter bus services, another large portion of the company’s business, has also taken a substantial hit.

East Penn Manufacturing receives waiver to operate

East Penn Manufacturing in Lyon Station. PHOTO/FILE –

Berks County battery manufacturer, East Penn Manufacturing, said it has received a waiver from the state classifying it as a life-sustaining business and it will resume operations, bringing back about half of its staff.

Having a lower employee count will help slow the spread of COVID-19, company officials said.

The company, which has its main facilities in Lyon Station, said it didn’t have a timeline for when employees not recalled, or who want to remain on layoff status, would return because of the unpredictability of the order levels as a result of the pandemic.

Any employees remaining laid off will continue to receive their company health care benefits through April 30.

Penn Community Bank, Bucks United Way, establish COVID-19 fund

The fund will target issues such as food insecurity that may be made worse because of the COVID-19 pandemic. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES –

Penn Community Bank in Perkasie said it is working with United Way of Bucks County to create a Bucks County COVID-19 Recovery Fund to help those who experience a financial crisis from the pandemic.

“The funds are intended to be filling gaps that will arise as a result of these circumstances,” said Todd Hurley, the bank’s chief relationship officer. “There were already people who were food insecure before this. The trickle down of this is creating further hardship because people might be out of work because of it.”

Both the bank and the United Way are contributing $25,000 to help launch the fund, which will be managed by the United Way and be distributed through a review board of community leaders, including Hurley.

Money will be given to United Way agencies, such as food banks, to distribute where they see the need.

“These agencies already have the processes in place to help the community,” he said.

Over the coming weeks, these agencies that serve the community will face their own challenges in continuing their services and reaching the people that need help the most, Hurley said.

Because of social distancing, they may have limited volunteers on hand. There are also questions about how food gets distributed. “Some people can’t get out of their homes, how do we get food them?” Hurley said.

Organizers are soliciting funds for the campaign. Donations can be made to www.uwvbucks.org/covidecovery.

“As local businesses adjust their operations and staffing to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, we know that many in our community will feel the hardship created by missed or reduced paychecks,” said Jeane M. Vidoni, president and CEO of Penn Community Bank. “Penn Community Bank is proud to pledge its support to the Bucks County COVID-19 Recovery Fund. We know that many more businesses and organizations are looking for ways to help in this time of need, and this is it.”