Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 41
 
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

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Weather Forecast


Latest Jitney Means More Free Rides

Dilshanie Perera

On loan from New Jersey Transit for three years, the latest FreeB jitney vehicle is ADA-compliant, seats 18, and continues the program of free rides begun in April of last year along a route stopping at the Dinky Station, Borough Hall, and the downtown during morning and evening commuting hours.

Mayor Mildred Trotman, Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi, and Engineer Chris Budzinski eagerly examined the new shuttle’s features after its delivery last Thursday.

Under the agreement with NJ Transit, the vehicle must be available to pick up and drop off commuters between 5:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, although Mr. Bruschi noted that it could be used for other transportation purposes during the rest of the day.

One goal is to have the FreeB provide service to “segments of the community who don’t have access to public transportation,” Ms. Trotman said.

Elm Court, Princeton Community Village, and the Princeton Shopping Center were all identified as areas of need, and the Borough is looking to better connect those regions to the downtown, Mr. Bruschi said, noting that talks have already begun regarding setting up more FreeB routes within the Borough and Township.

Princeton University has provided the Borough with approximately $90,000 for operating costs, Mr. Bruschi reported. Additionally, the prior jitney vehicle on loan from the University was granted to the Borough as a gift.

NJ Transit is also matching up to $30,000 for the shuttle’s operation for the first year, $20,000 for the second year, and $10,000 for the third. Scout’s Inc. of Ewing is operating the jitney for $5,350 per month, while Greater Mercer TMA is administering it.

“A really specific need is being addressed by this vehicle,” Mr. Bruschi said, adding that approximately 500 to 600 rides per month were being taken, with rainy and cold days seeing increased ridership in the evenings. In its first year of operation the FreeB saw 4,851 rides.

Additional plans include conversations with the local merchant community about using the jitney to spur evening shopping and dining. A discussion regarding connecting the jitney’s route to those of the Princeton University shuttles is also expected.

“Information is key,” Mr. Bruschi said at a Council meeting in the spring. “By making transfers, people could really get around this town.”

The Tiger Transit shuttle system run by the University provides free transportation for members of the campus and community along certain routes. The fleet is comprised of low-floor, accessible buses that run on biodiesel and are equipped with bike racks as well as a GPS tracking system that allows riders to determine where the shuttle is in real time at princeton.transloc.com.

A “Saturday Shopper” route was recently added to the Tiger Transit system. Beginning on October 17, the “Nassau and Harrison Line” will run from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on a route that includes graduate housing locations, the Dinky station, Palmer Square, Blue Point Grill, Whole Earth Center, and the Princeton Shopping Center. The line will run on alternate Saturdays with the Nassau Park Boulevard Line.

Visit www.princeton.edu/transportation/tigertransit.html for more information about Tiger Transit and go to www.princetonboro.org/jitney.cfm for FreeB routes and schedules.

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