CONTACT: Anna Farneski (973-491-7078)
WEST ORANGE, NJ, July 30, 2001 -- NJ TRANSIT today announced the latest recipients of the Corporation's Community Shuttle Program, a creative approach to improving passenger access to public transportation in New Jersey.
Twenty communities will receive 20-passenger mini-buses -- free of charge -- to operate commuter shuttles to train stations and bus corridors during peak hours. During off-peak hours and on weekends, the 22 vehicles can be used for other community-based transportation services. Federal funding for the program was secured by New Jersey Congressmen William Pascrell and Donald Payne.
"We want to thank our Legislative delegation for making this program possible," said New Jersey Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Weinstein. "Programs such as the Community Shuttle will make it possible for commuters to find a new way to their trains and buses. By providing the shuttles, NJ TRANSIT and the participating communities are proving that New Jersey is committed to convenient and accessible public transportation."
"The shuttle program is a creative, cost-effective way to make our communities more livable," said Congressman William Pascrell. "At a time when we must have innovative mass transit investment, these federally-funded shuttle buses will go a long way toward easing traffic congestion, reducing air pollution, and improving the daily commute for so many across our state. I am pleased to have fought for the dollars to fund this program, and know it will continue to bring real results in our cities and towns."
"As a strong supporter in Congress of public transportation funding, I am pleased that we have been successful in launching this innovative approach to meeting the needs of our local New Jersey communities," said Congressman Donald Payne. "In addition to providing enhanced access for our commuters, the shuttle bus program will also help communities offer rides to seniors and others in need of this valuable service. Access to transportation is a key element of enhanced economic development, and I look forward to continuing our efforts at the federal level to assist New Jersey communities."
"During these days of record ridership and limited parking on our bus and rail systems, programs such as Community Shuttle are vital to the success of public transportation in New Jersey," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "Our customers need and deserve alternate ways to reach our systems. Thanks to the work of Congressmen Pascrell and Payne, and the efforts of the participating communities with whom we have partnered, NJ TRANSIT can make that happen."
Congressmen Pascrell and Payne have secured $3 million in federal funds from the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) for this second year of the Community Shuttle Program. Last year the congressmen secured $3 million to fund the distribution of 20 mini-buses to 18 communities statewide.
In November, the 20 mini-buses awarded in May 2000 during round one of the program are expected to arrive. The mini-buses awarded today are scheduled to arrive by spring 2002. The vehicles, which cost approximately $94,000 each, include a wheelchair lift and two wheelchair securements, air conditioning, reading lamps and overhead package racks.
Once the communities begin providing the service, they are approved for up to $60,000 in start-ups costs from NJ TRANSIT for the first three years of service. During off-peak hours and on weekends, communities may use the mini-buses for other municipally-sponsored services such as transporting seniors or for recreational purposes.
Applicants are eligible for the program based on their ability to operate the service, access to NJ TRANSIT train stations and bus stops, opportunities to connect rail stations with work sites and demonstration of local support. The second-year recipients are:
SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY LIGHT RAIL (Burlington County, 2 vehicles)
MAIN LINE (Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties)
MONTCLAIR BRANCH/BOONTON LINE (Essex County)
MORRISTOWN LINE (Essex County)
NORTH JERSEY COAST LINE (Monmouth County)
NORTHEAST CORRIDOR (Union and Middlesex counties)
PASCACK VALLEY LINE/BERGEN COUNTY BUS SERVICE (Bergen County)
RARITAN VALLEY LINE (Somerset and Union counties)
ROUTE 9 BUS SERVICE (Ocean County, 2 vehicles)
NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s only statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 373,500 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.