Shuttle Service "On a Roll"
Long Branch: The good news is the city shuttle service is off to a good start. That was the word from Jacob Jones, Director Community Development at the Greater Long Branch Area Business meeting on June 20 at Brookdale. The jitney service was launched over the Memorial Day weekend with a route from the railroad station to West End, making stops along Ocean Avenue at Pier Village and Broadway. The loop takes about 25 minutes and runs Friday through Sunday from 9am until 11pm.
Characterized as in the experimental stage, there were start up glitches, but early indications are positive for success. The shuttle will meet a significant need of beach visitors from other towns who use rail service. Residents and businesses will benefit as well.
The jitney being used makes various stops en route, and is synched with train arrival and departure schedules. As residents get used to it, and with merchants help to promote it, the service will make it more convenient for residents to shop in town at local places of business.
In the fall, Monmouth University students will begin to use the service as daily routes become available.
Service sponsors are looking for volunteers to help promote this community project. Call 732-923-2040 to learn more and to become a volunteer.
Urban Enterprise Zone Alive
Jones announced the Urban Enterprise Zone is “Alive and well”, and remains a great program to help businesses grow and to attract customers. UEZ membership is free and UEZ works by allowing sales tax savings incentives and favorable financing assistance. Help in joining UEZ is available through Jones’ office at 732-923-2040.
Readers may recall, UEZ program operations were for troubled cities. Much of it was pulled back to allow financial assistance functions to be redirected to Trenton. That decision was based in part on the ineffective management structure and procedures of the initial implementation of the state program. The UEZ concept was sound; the implementation schema was faulty. Accountability and controls were not well structured at the outset.
The need for business assistance still exists. State offices in Trenton are revisiting the decision to pull the program. The state may soon introduce new plans with centralized financial controls and using city-based local business UEZ support.