NEW BEDFORD — The bus company running the only direct mass transit service between Boston and the greater New Bedford area is suspending its service permanently in mid-April.

DATTCO wrote in a March 17 statement that the SouthCoast to Boston express service is permanently ending on April 16.

The service takes passengers between Fairhaven and Boston's South Station, with stops at the New Bedford bus depot, UMass Dartmouth, and Taunton.

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"This is a decision we have struggled with for several months as we looked at options to both reduce our operating costs and increase fares substantially," the statement reads.

"Unfortunately, we have not found a solution that would provide a cost-effective commute option for you, our passengers, while overcoming the deficit we have been experiencing for several years."

Although the long-awaited SouthCoast Rail is expected to open later this year, DATTCO is the currently the only direct mass transit service between New Bedford and Boston.

Other bus routes from New Bedford to Boston take several hours to divert to the Cape or to Providence before heading north.

The company wrote in the statement that the state's Department of Public Utilities and Department of Transportation have both been notified.

MassDOT partnered with DATTCO in 2014 to offer service between UMass Dartmouth and Boston.

Geared towards commuters, the DATTCO bus runs several times a day on weekdays and once on Sundays.

It is unclear if commuters who bought monthly passes or 10-ride tickets will be refunded for unused rides.

DATTCO representatives and MassDOT officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

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