The bus was on its way to Lakewood from Newark when Marlboro police stopped it at around 8:30 a.m. on Route 9 near Robertsville Road, said Jim Smith, a NJ Transit spokesman.
As passengers were exiting the bus at various stops along the route, several people alerted the driver that they noticed a suspicious device on the lap of a man, Marlboro police chief Bruce Hall said.
Hall said the man had just got off a flight from Israel and was heading to see his family in Lakewood, and had a clock on top of his lap that he was using to tell time.
“He had very little rest and he was trying to be on time to visit his family,” Hall said, adding that the man was part of the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood.
Capt. Fred Reck described the clock in a press release as a “small travel style clock.”
The New Jersey State Police said in a tweet said that it assisted Marlboro police with the investigation, which has all lanes shut down near the intersection of Robertsville Road.
Authorities commended the passengers onboard the NJ Transit bus for speaking up.
“High 5 to citizens reporting suspicious activity on bus,” the New Jersey State Police tweeted. “No threat, but that’s the way it’s supposed to work. See something say something.”
Hall said, “Unfortunately in these times, people are on edge but it’s better to say something.”
There were 15 passengers on the bus when it was stopped, and they were transported to another bus, Smith said.
Route 9 was shut down in both directs for a couple hours. Marlboro police led the investigation with the assistance of the State Police bomb unit and NJ Transit officials.
Traffic was reopened at around 10 a.m. after a NJ Transit K-9 dog cleared the bus, Smith said.