Friday, March 09, 2012

ACES train folds its hand

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Beleaguered by low ridership and an oft-criticized marketing effort, a public-private train for gamblers linking New York and Atlantic City was permanently canceled Friday.

Atlantic City Express Service (ACES), which debuted in February 2009, had been suspended in January 2011 for the winter months then, with low ridership cited for the move.

The permanent cessation marks the withdrawal of three gaming companies, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort, and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, to entice customers primarily from New York City with weekend rail service aboard specially designed Bombardier BiLevel equipment, operated by New Jersey Transit Corp. over the Northeast Corridor and Atlantic City Line.

The effort initially was also supported by the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, but CRDA in 2011 said it would stop supporting the train.

Observers cited as factors faster and more frequent bus service, and also competition for the New York-based Atlantic City gambling market from locations in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.