University support enables spring launch of community jitney bus service

A free community jitney bus service will be up and running by early April, made possible at this time by an agreement with Princeton University to cover the cost of the program until Princeton Borough receives its permanent vehicle and funding from New Jersey Transit at the end of the year.

The official unveiling of the name and logo of the new jitney service will take place at a public event being planned for early April.

The jitney bus service will be free to riders and will run Monday through Friday during peak commuting hours from 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 5:30 to 9 p.m. It will be directly coordinated with the NJ Transit Dinky train schedule. The service also has direct connection with the newly modified University shuttle routes along Nassau Street. 

"I am excited to launch this important transportation link in the borough, and I thank Princeton University for assisting us with making this launch possible at this time," said Borough Mayor Mildred Trotman in announcing the service. "I hope that all residents of the borough will take advantage of this alternative transportation service."

The jitney bus route will begin at Borough Hall for the morning commute and at the NJ Transit Dinky Train Station for the evening commute. The jitney's 20-minute loop will run in a circular, clockwise route from the Dinky Train Station to Borough Hall, along Bayard Lane, Paul Robeson-Wiggins-Hamilton, Harrison Street, Nassau Street, Mercer Street, Alexander Street and University Place. There will be permanent stops indicated along that route, including at the Suzanne Patterson Senior Center and the Princeton Public Library, but riders may flag down the jitney at any point.

"We are pleased to make this contribution toward the early launch of this new mode of transportation," said Robert Durkee, vice president and secretary of the University. "We believe this community jitney service will make it more convenient for borough residents and visitors to travel to and from the Dinky station and to points in between."

Princeton Borough applied for a grant from New Jersey Transit in 2004 and was awarded the grant in 2006. The grant will fund the cost to purchase a 22-passenger jitney bus and to fund three years of operation during peak morning and evening commuter hours. The grant stipulates that the bus must provide a transportation link for the Princeton Borough community to the NJ Transit Dinky Train Station. Prior to receiving its bus, the borough will contract with an outside provider to operate the service using one of its buses.

"This pilot program will allow us to analyze the routes and stops that we have developed, and to review ridership patterns prior to receiving our permanent bus from New Jersey Transit," said Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi. "This trial period will give us an opportunity to operate the system and receive input from local residents on how the service can be improved so that we are prepared for the full launch."