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Proposed Jitney to South Orange Moving Forward

A proposed jitney from the Livingston Mall to the South Orange train station could be a reality by Labor Day.

The pilot plan that will allow New York City commuters to take a jitney bus from the to the is moving forward according to officials.  It is expected to begin sometime after Labor Day and will run weekdays.  Parking at the Mall is free.

Residents would be charged a $2 fare per ride.  There are also plans to introduce a monthly pass at $70 a month.

"Add that to the price of the train ticket and you have the cheapest way to commute from Livingston, cheaper than the 77 bus and certainly less costly than driving either to a train station and parking or driving to the city," Alan Karpas, chairman of the Vision 20 Committee, said in a statement.

Last month, over a 6 month period.  The service is expected to cost about $450 per day for the driver, vehicle and insurance.  Livingston Mayor Stephen Santola said the cost was already built into this year’s budget if the plan is enacted before the end of the year.

"The $54,000 cost to the Township is for a 6 month trial period and will cost that amount if there are absolutely no riders during the period of operation," Karpas told Patch in an e-mail to clarify the cost.  "We need an average of 25 riders per hour (12 1/2 per trip average) to have the jitney be a breakeven project."

The jitney’s hours are being finalized.  The current plan will call for a jitney to run twice an hour, starting at either 5 or 6 a.m. and running until 9 or 10 a.m.  The jitney will then run in the afternoon peak hours between 4-9 p.m.  The jitney schedule will be tied to the train schedule.

With the recent , it is expected that many commuters will want to try this new service.  Karpas assured residents that the size of the jitneys can be adjusted almost daily to hold how many residents it has to.

In February, South Orange Village President Alex Torpey told Patch that and hoped Livingston residents would also take a moment to check out the businesses in South Orange.

"I think that people, not just in South Orange, but in surrounding towns, see our town as kind of a transit destination and so I think we'll be happy to have Livingston residents come use our train station,” said Torpey.  “We have a lot of West Orange residents that do so also, and that will hopefully be good for business in South Orange as well."

Livingston sent out a request for proposal for a bus contractor this week.  The bids are due back by August 17.

"If all goes well we will be ready to operate sometime after Labor Day," said Karpas.

WALTER LeVINE August 03, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Plus, the service will be available for use by Livingston and South Orange residents who have a need to visit these towns. For instance, SO residents wanting to shop the Mall or who have appointments at St. Barnabas Outpatient could ride the jitney. In addition, advetising might be sold. All of this could reduce the Town's cost, and even make the concept profitable.

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