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Long Branch renews shuttle after record-breaking July

Staff Writer

LONG BRANCH — A banner summer has prompted the city to continue funding the Shore EZ Ride shuttle for another year.

During its Aug. 23 meeting, the City Council renewed the shuttle service that makes various stops throughout the beachfront and business district, as well as stops at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

“We had very, very good numbers in July,” Business Administrator Howard Woolley Jr. said. “Over 600 passengers, so it was the best month we’ve ever had.”

During the meeting, the council passed a resolution to fund the shuttle for the 2016-17 fiscal year, using $58,000 of Urban Enterprise Zone assistance funds.

A weekend shuttle service began in Long Branch during the summer of 2012, making stops along the beachfront and Broadway. The following year the city opted to expand the service to weekdays and extend the service to all year.

The jitney is a partnership between the city, the federal government and the Meadowlands Transportation Brokerage Corp., which also operates under the name Meadowlink. The service began in 2012 as a way to transport beachgoers without adding to traffic or parking problems on the weekends.

In 2013, the city entered into an agreement with Monmouth University to expand the jitney to daily service and transport students to and from points within the city.

According to Woolley, the majority of the riders were Monmouth University students, who can ride the shuttle for free.

“They have so many activities over there where they have soccer camps and summer school, and these kids are smart in that they realize that they don’t have to worry about parking,” he said.

Woolley said the city is hoping Monmouth University will increase the annual $3,000 fee that makes the college a stop on the route.

“We’re subsidizing it,” Woolley said. “We’ll be picking up our portion of it with some contributions from Monmouth, which we are working on getting increased.”

The City Council also scheduled a special meeting for Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. to discuss possible amendments to the redevelopment ordinances.

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