The system, which the city said would be a first of its kind in New Jersey, would allow users to request rides from their smartphones or by making a phone call.
(TNS) — Mayor Steve Fulop announced plans Monday to create an innovative public transit system that would function similar to popular ride-hailing apps.
Think Uber for public transportation.
The system, which the city said would be a first of its kind in New Jersey, would allow users to request rides from their smartphones or by making a phone call. Fulop said the city will issue a request for proposals to form “a unique vendor partnership to create an innovative transit system with virtual stops and routes based on passenger demand."
“Typical bus systems are tailored to regulated routes and schedules, which can leave passengers waiting due to delays or having to walk blocks to their bus stop if there is not one close,” Fulop said in a press release announcing the plan.
“We want to bring technology into the City that creates a fully dynamic, on-demand transit network. This ultimately will make rides faster, more convenient and connect the North and South parts of the City.”
After requesting a pickup, a rider will be be assigned a pickup location “most efficiently matching the vehicle’s route,” Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said. It is unclear whether the company awarded the contract will develop a phone application specifically for the system.
“This type of transit system can maximize connectivity and access to transit hubs, major employment, shopping and recreational destinations, and between existing neighborhoods,” said Barkha Patel, the city’s senior transportation planner.
Unlike assigned bus stops, the pickup locations would vary from day to day, depending on demand.
The city said prices will be comparable to other transportation options and cost “below or around $2 per-ride." But officials noted that discounts could be offered for certain populations including low-income residents, the disabled, and senior citizens.
Additionally, 10% of the program’s fleet of vehicles — shuttles and vans — will be fully electric. That number would increase in proceeding years.
The announcement comes on the heels of several high-profile changes to public transportation in the southern half of Jersey City. In February, NJ Transit announced services on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to the West Side Avenue, Martin Luther King Drive and Garfield Avenue stations would be suspended for nine months, beginning June 1.
More than 5,000 daily riders on the light rail branch that heads to the three affected stations will be affected by the shutdown, which will coincide with construction work to repair a sewer line that runs along the light rail line.
In March, Coach USA announced its No. 4 bus, which ran from the southern point of Greenville to the Newport mall, was being shut down because of “low ridership.”
Citi Bike Jersey City, meanwhile, has removed the bulk of its bike-share stations from neighborhoods south of Communipaw Avenue.
The new transit system will primarily focus on “transit desert” areas determined by the city.
“We are seeking a solution that responds dynamically to demand in an effort to be more efficient and more responsive to the varying needs of our communities,” Patel said. “We’re continually looking to incorporating innovative technology that improves the quality of life for all users and modes of travel within our transportation network.”
©2019 The Jersey Journal, Secaucus, N.J. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.