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18-passenger buses leased at no charge for local transportation

November 14, 2005
Contact: Dan Stessel 973 491-7078

Twelve communities will receive 18-passenger mini-buses—leased at no charge—to operate commuter shuttles to train stations and bus corridors during peak hours, NJ TRANSIT announced today. The mini-buses were awarded under NJ TRANSIT’s Community Shuttle Program, a creative approach to improving passenger access to public transportation in New Jersey.

The 12 community recipients announced today are:

  • Township of Bernards
  • Township of Edison
  • Township of Irvington
  • Township of North Bergen
  • Borough of Princeton
  • Township of South Orange Village
  • Township of Bloomfield
  • Borough of Highland Park
  • Mercer County TRADE
  • Township of Nutley
  • Borough of Roselle Park
  • Township of West Orange

New Jersey Congressmen William J. Pascrell, Jr. and Donald M. Payne secured federal funding through the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) for two previous rounds of the Community Shuttle Program. Funding for the vehicles awarded today was provided through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funds.

“In securing funding for the original two rounds of the program, I hoped to set a precedent for bringing the needs of New Jersey communities to the forefront,” said U.S. Rep. William Pascrell. “Now in its third round, the Community Shuttle Program has proven that innovation can go a long way in providing a cost-effective means of easing traffic congestion and improving the daily commute for our residents, as well as the quality of life in so many of our communities.”

“The Community Shuttle Program is a multi-level approach to meeting the needs of our New Jersey communities. Not only does it provide enhanced access to public transportation for our commuters, but it also enables communities to better serve their senior population and others in need of mobility,” said U.S. Rep. Payne. “I am pleased that our initial efforts to secure funding for this program have yielded such long-standing results, and I look forward to its continued growth and success.”

“With ridership at record high levels, the Community Shuttle Program is more important than ever,” said NJ TRANSIT Assistant Executive Director Jim Redeker. “By operating these shuttles, the communities will be providing a vital link to public transportation, without requiring residents to get in their cars.”

The mini-buses awarded today are scheduled to arrive by late 2007. The vehicles, which cost approximately $60,000 to $65,000 each, include a wheelchair lift and two wheelchair securements, heating and air conditioning systems, reading lamps, and overhead package racks.

Once communities begin providing service, they are eligible for up to $60,000 in start-ups costs for the first three years of service. During off-peak hours and on weekends, the program recipients may use the vehicles for other community-based transportation services such as senior citizen or recreational transportation.

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. Currently, 22 towns operate community shuttles, received in the first and second rounds of the program.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 800,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 53 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.