Lakewood Community Shuttle Almost Ready to Roll – Drivers Needed
Through the efforts of the Lakewood Township Committee and Steven Reinman, the director of economic development, Lakewood will soon be offering a public shuttle service with several routes in township, operated by Lakewood Community Shuttle Inc. People will be able to ride at no charge for the first three months. After that, a ride will cost $1.00.
Reinman said, “Through the offices of Congressman Chris Smith and the initiative of senior staff at Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG), Lakewood Township received a federal grant of one million dollars to purchase nine buses to be used for public transportation. It took a long time for the shuttle proposal to actually come to fruition.
The process began when the township designed a RFP and held a bidder’s conference. The contract was awarded to Jay’s Bus Service, Cross Street, Lakewood, who then created a separate subsidiary called Lakewood Community Shuttle Inc., whose express purpose is to operate a public shuttle service with buses designed for 24 passengers and a place for a wheelchair.
Reinman said, “Most recently, we have waited for officials—the state, county engineers, and the DMV—to complete their inspections and give approvals of the buses and routes. At this point, six buses are road-worthy and ready to roll. As of a couple of weeks ago, there is nothing but staffing holding us back now.”
The Lakewood Community Shuttle is now hiring drivers, and printing up initial bus schedules, which will be distributed in the Municipal building, the library, Shop Rite, and other downtown locations. The Lakewood Community Shuttle will start with two routes. One is a loop from Central Avenue (Route 528) to the downtown area; the other will cover the renewed Job Link bus route that ran for six years serving the Lakewood Industrial Park.
Rivky Greenspan, the VP of operations for the Lakewood Community Shuttle, said, “We need drivers who have a CDL (commercial driver’s license) with a “P” (passenger) endorsement. Preferably, we’re looking for individuals with experience driving buses because drivers have to be able to accommodate the needs of human beings. There’s a lot of interaction.”
Drivers must have a clean driving record, and clean drug and alcohol history. Drivers who ever had their license suspended cannot be hired. Greenspan said, “We are following department of transportation regulations; but, we have some stricter guidelines. We will be doing random drug and alcohol testing so drivers will have to abide by those rules.” Individual salaries will depend on experience and other factors.
The white buses, with ads on them, will follow all ADA regulations. Greenspan said, “We can offer deviated routes at no charge for the disabled. We can also accommodate, up to ½ mile circumference, anyone else who gives us 48-hours’ notice; but the fare will be $2.00 rather than the usual $1.00.
Reinman said, “The hope is that this service will become very successful and do so quickly. Then the Township will request more buses via grants in order to add additional routes or the operator may decide to directly invest in more buses. We have, in the original plan, identified as many as nine routes throughout the town.”
Greenspan talked about potential, initial routes. “We will be absorbing the Job Link run that Loori Bus Company has been running for the last couple of years. We are also going to have another shuttle run from Westgate that will basically go to the Yeshiva/Georgian Court University area, back up to Central Avenue to Westgate, and then make a reverse loop.
“Once we get these two routes up and running, we can begin another two routes, perhaps going to Shop Rite. A future route probably will be going to be from Monmouth Avenue through the Kennedy Boulevard area, up to Squankum Road and the Kennedy Boulevard area, down to Shop Rite, to the Georgian Court and BMG area and back to Monmouth Avenue.”
Greenspan said, “Jay Ellinson, the owner of Lakewood Community Shuttle Inc., is doing this as a service to the Township; it’s not a money-making business.”
For more information or to apply as a driver, contact Rivky Greenspan, VP of Operations, at 732-370-5297.