Princeton residents celebrated the town's new freeB community shuttle bus during a ceremony Thursday on Hinds Plaza. Princeton University provided funds for the town to purchase the vehicle.
FreeB is a free, municipal shuttle service available for anyone to ride. It stops at Princeton Station (Dinky), Palmer Square, the Princeton Shopping Center and other locations in town. The University helped support the launch of the service in 2008 and provided $90,000 to the town for the new 21-passenger bus.
"I want to thank, first, Princeton University for providing the bus for us," Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert said before cutting the ribbon on the blue and orange shuttle. "It is a really great donation and it provides an important service to the community."
The freeB bus is one of the many municipal services, programs and projects to which the University contributes. In addition to freeB, the University's TigerTransit campus shuttle is free and open to the public, and makes stops at Princeton Station and key locations in town.
University Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget said, "The new FreeB bus is the very visible representation of the commitment the University has made over many years to working with the municipality to find ways to provide reliable, convenient and coordinated mass transit options in the Princeton community."
Kim Jackson, the University's director of transportation and parking services, said providing opportunities to coordinate with TigerTransit is exciting as efforts continue to reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles and vehicular traffic within the Princeton community.
The new freeB bus will be used as the town's main shuttle and will provide additional seats and service reliability, according to town officials. The bus is named in honor of former mayor Marvin Reed, who spearheaded the start-up of the municipal shuttle service.
"The two current freeB buses have served our residents well for many years but they had to be replaced," Princeton Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller said. "One will be sold and the newer of the two will serve as a back-up to the new vehicle."
Princeton Community Village resident Debbie Disher attended the ceremony unveiling the new bus. Disher serves on the Public Transit Advisory Committee and said she rides the freeB shuttle all the time.
"It is so dependable and always there," Disher said. "I come to the library a lot and can get anywhere I need to go in town. It's great because you don't have to worry about parking. I wish more people took advantage of the service."