The accident happened around 7:30 p.m. just south of the Bergen Toll Plaza, and the crash shut down the southbound lanes at exit 159 for more than four hours.
Thee crash involved the bus, which had no passengers on board, and a packed van heading to a Newark church from Spring Valley, New York.
One passenger in the van, identified as Velma Castro, was killed, and four others were seriously hurt when the vehicle overturned upon impact. Officials say Castro is survived by her husband, who was also in the van, and four children.
Castro was headed to bible study in the overcrowded van.
The Route 163 bus was heading to Port Authority to be put into service.
There were 22 passengers in the van, 12 of whom were injured, and four of them remain in critical condition. Others had minor injuries, including the bus driver.