Saving the Jitney? Is it worth it? Council Members Get an Earful from the Public

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Given the vocal crowd that came before the Borough Council at their November 2nd meeting, it would seem that the commuters who take the Jitney from one of its appointed stops to the train station are verklempt about its imminent demise. They almost called the Mayor a liar when he quoted the DPW numbers on ridership (90+ per day split between morning and night shifts) and angrily demanded why had this issue not gone to the public sooner (they were reminded that it had--from the spring on, the jitney's upcoming end-of-term was under discussion and the public was made aware of it in the usual ways). It stands at present that the Jitney Bus service will end on December 31st. Another bus offered earlier in the year by NJ Transit had been declined but the Council members offered that another trip to NJ Transit to a) extend the amount of time we have to run the present bus for the Jitney and b) to reconsider the NJT's offer for another bus would be possible.

Running the bus costs $55K+ per annum--thus, running the bus at a cost to each rider of $1 per ride might help offset some of this annual payment (the Council considered this a less-than-effective way to cover costs).

However, given that Metuchen Taxi & Limo might offer a similiar service (but no price has been discussed yet) and given that the ridership doesn't represent a majority of resident commuters who use NJTransit, it looks like those who depend on the Jitney to help them get to their train on time would do well to consider other forms of transportation starting after the winter holidays.

The issue of student riders on the Jitney was also brought up by the public at the meeting--however, as the Councilmen pointed out, this service  is not specifically run in order to help students get to district schools on time. The fact that some students have been using it on a regular basis as a school bus might be considered a breach of contract with NJ Transit.

This is a small town, filled with walkers and bike riders as well as Jitney users and car drivers. If the Jitney isn't saved, will the amount of drivers increase to the extent that parking in town becomes even more jammed than it is now for commuters? And, if, as also discussed, GOING GREEN is a major need in our changing environment, isn't walking the best way to cut down on the carbon footprint (while also increasing your human conditioning?) Talk to commuters in winter--they might not agree.

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