At Monday’s town council meeting, Livingston officials gave their full support to the Livingston Primetime Shuttle.
With a vote of 4-0 (Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro was absent), an ordinance was approved that established the non-stop, round trip express service from the from the to the . The ordinance will go into effect by September 24, which means the .
“This didn’t happen overnight,” Councilman Gary Schneiderman said. “It took many years to get to this point.”
The shuttle will operate two round trips per hour, Monday thru Friday, from 5:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. The fare for the non-stop service will be $2 each way or a monthly pass for $70.
The initial cost of the shuttle will be Advertising space on the jitney will be sold at a rate of $1,000.00 - $5,000.00 per month based on the size of the shuttle and frequency of service.
Last month, Alan Karpas, chairman of the township's Vision 20/20 committee, the initial $54,000 cost to the township will only cost that much "if there are absolutely no riders during the period of operation.”
"We need an average of 25 riders per hour (12 1/2 per trip average) to have the jitney be a breakeven project,” said Karpas.
Schneiderman said that the council intended to "be fully reimbursed through advertising and through the (riding) fees.”
“The (town council) needed to help get this off the ground by giving this $54,000 in seed money," said Schneiderman. "I believe that this will not be an ongoing thing where we’re going to subsidize on an ongoing basis of whatever amount. I’m convinced this is going to be successful and is going to run itself and is going to be here for many years to come.”
Councilman Michael Rieber said that he was impressed with how the shuttle came about, from initially realizing there was a problem, having meetings to figure out a solution and then executing a plan.
“This is a community jitney, but it’s also a community project,” said Reiber. “It’s been a very nice experience just to see how it developed.”
Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez pointed out that when realtors show off houses in Livingston, one of the top questions asked is how residents can commute to New York City. He said “that’s an important question” considering Livingston has no bus terminals or train stations.
“We expect this (shuttle) to be successful,” said Fernandez.
Mayor Stephen Santola said that this shuttle should be a "case study in municipal government" in terms of what type of businesses government should be involved in.
"One of the vital things that local government has an obligation to do is to make Livingston a better place to live in," said Santola. "It's my intention that government will get involved, get this started and then get out of the way as soon as possible so that thei can run on its own."
With the recent , it is expected that many commuters will want to try this new service. Karpas has assured residents that the size of the jitneys can be adjusted almost daily to hold how many residents it has to.
“Livingston commuters deserve a reliable, safe, cost effective, and civilized means of transportation," said Karpas. "The Livingston Primetime Shuttle is designed to reduce much of the hassle of getting to work. Simply park your car, board the clean, comfortable jitney, and in less than 15 minutes you are at the train station. In the evening, the jitney will return you to your car, safe and sound.”
Additional details, including the exact start date and schedule for the Livingston Primetime Shuttle are expected to be announced in the near future.