Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 48
 
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

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N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

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Free Holiday Shuttle To Operate Weekends Through December

Dilshanie Perera

Now in the second year of its operation, the free Holiday Weekend Shuttle program will take passengers around the Borough and Township on Saturdays and Sundays for the next three weekends in December. The program, which began on November 27, represents a partnership between the two municipalities and Princeton University.

“The University is on board, helping us with printing and advertising costs, but the primary funding source is the Borough and Township,” said Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi, who anticipated that running the shuttle on the weekends would cost the governments no more than $4,000 in total.

The shuttle utilizes the Borough’s FreeB jitney, and its route will connect residential communities with the downtown and Shopping Center. Beginning at Elm Court, the shuttle will make stops at Palmer Square, at the intersection of Nassau and Chestnut Streets, Spruce Circle, Hamilton and Chestnut Streets, the Housing Authority of Princeton, Township Hall, Jefferson and Valley Road, the Princeton Shopping Center, and Princeton Community Village before turning around and covering the route in reverse order, adding a brief stop at Borough Hall before returning to Elm Court.

The full loop will take approximately 50 minutes from beginning to end, and service will begin on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Six loops will be made over the course of the day, departing every hour on the half-hour, except for 12:30 p.m. The final run of the day will begin at 3:30 p.m.

This year’s version of the free holiday shuttle features a revised schedule of stops and is a trial run for the possibility of a similar route during the week at non-commuter hours. While Mr. Bruschi said that the Borough is “poised to try a weekday route,” he acknowledged that the funding constraints are what is holding the municipalities back. Given the dire budget situation at the local and state levels, “We’re not in a position to look to expand any municipal service,” he added.

Nonetheless, survey feedback and ridership information will be gathered by the year’s end to better inform the governing bodies should a weekday shuttle become viable.

Another goal of the free weekend jitney is to provide transit service to areas whose residents lack transportation options. “We’re trying to hook up the major population centers … and trying to hit as many areas as we possibly can in a reasonable amount of time,” Mr. Bruschi said.

While the entire route takes an hour to complete, Mr. Bruschi noted that since the loop doubles back on itself, the trips should not take longer than 20 minutes, and would be “quicker than walking, and certainly a lot easier.”

While local merchants have been advised about the shuttle route, Mr. Bruschi said that “more importantly, the support needs to come from the actual places we’re stopping —  Elm Court, Redding Circle, and so on. That’s where the main population bases are.”

Anyone can ride on the Holiday Weekend Shuttle for free. Individuals waiting near a stop may flag down the shuttle.

For more information, and for a schedule of stops, please visit princetonboro.org.

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