Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Plans to initiate 15-minute peak service on NJT's River Line are on hold temporarily. The increased service was to have started two weeks ago, however, according to the Burlington County Times:

Work to review traffic-signal timing and how it corresponds with extra trains led to the delay, spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett said.

"We're making absolutely certain that the timing of the traffic signals as it relates to our service is appropriate, so we don't create undue traffic issues," she said.

No particular signal is holding up the service change. NJ Transit staffers are looking at traffic lights along the entire corridor, she said.
Burlington County Times

Meanwhile, there are a couple of articles on connecting shuttle bus services operating within Burlington and Camden Counties.

The BurLink service, which is managed and operated by Burlington County, was the subject of a recent article in the Trenton Times:

Each weekday morning, Terokee Stackhouse rides his bike from his Beverly home, hops on the Trenton-to-Camden light-rail line to Burlington City, then boards a shuttle bus for his job in Burlington Township.

The entire hassle-free trip costs $1 and takes about 30 minutes, Stackhouse said. "I leave my house at 7 a.m. and I'm at work by 7:30," he said. "It's great."

Stackhouse, who relies on public transportation to get around, had nothing but praise for both the New Jersey Transit light-rail River Line that began operating in March and Burlington County's BurLink shuttle service, which recently expanded to include stops along the rail line.

That's just the type of ringing endorsement Burlington County officials had hoped to hear when they began thinking about how to get riders to and from the rail stations along the county's riverfront communities long before the River Line picked up its first passenger.

The plan to improve public transportation for county residents focused on expansion of the county's now 4-year-old BurLink shuttle bus service, a $1 per ride system that operates from about 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.


Previously, Stackhouse had to take two New Jersey Transit buses that dropped him off at the Burlington Center mall, then walk to his warehouse job at Vitality Food Service in the Bromley Commons industrial park.

"I would take the 419, transfer to the 413 to the mall and then walk from the mall," said Stackhouse, calling the daily 10-minute walk "a good hike." By comparison, the shuttle drops him right at his employer's door.

"This is so much better," said Stackhouse, 42. "It's clean. It's fast. It's close. I'm very happy with the train and I'm very happy with BurLink. They're reliable and dependable."
Trenton Times

County officials are pleased with ridership, which on the surface seems low, but for the limited service provided, doesn't seem that bad:

...[T]he BurLink shuttle is a $1.9 million-a-year operation primarily funded with state and federal dollars. The county has budgeted $573,000 for the service this year, but officials hope to offset that cost by securing additional grant funding.

Since the shuttle service only runs on weekdays, it's not surprising that a recent survey showed the majority of riders, 64 percent, use it for employment purposes, Brauckmann said. Another 28 percent use the shuttle buses to go shopping and get to doctor appointments, he said.

The latest statistics available through the county transportation office show 234 riders use the shuttle service each day. But that number is expected to rise as more people begin to take advantage of the connecting routes to the rail line...


But with the price of gasoline going up, Brown said more people may become willing to explore public transportation opportunities.

BurLink bus driver Loretta Bullosk is already seeing an increase in the number of passengers she picks up each morning in Burlington City. "It's starting to pick up a little," said Bullosk, who added she thinks she will be picking up more riders "once the word gets out."

Stackhouse, who said he found out about BurLink from a flier he got at a Burlington City newsstand, agreed.

"I think they need to promote it better," he said. "A lot of people don't know this service is out there."
Trenton Times

Meanwhile, in Camden County, the South Jersey Transportation Authority is sponsoring its own shuttle system from River Line stations in Camden City and Pennsawken Township, according to the Burlington County Times:

The shuttle service offers free rides to and from the River Line park-and-ride station on Route 73 in Pennsauken and businesses in the nearby Pennsauken Industrial Park.

Plans call for the service to expand to job sites in Camden and to business parks in Moorestown.

"Right now we're looking for employers in order to get a feel for the interest level," said Norm Stites, transit operations manager for the authority, about the expansion to Moorestown.

He said the proposed route to Moorestown would circulate buses from the River Line on Route 73 through Pennsauken Industrial Park, then north along Route 130 to businesses along Church and Lenola roads.

Unlike traditional bus services, Transit Link does not have a set route or schedule. The buses cater directly to the transportation needs of specific businesses and employers, said Ronda R. Urkowitz, program director for Cross County Connection. The Mount Laurel-based transportation advocacy group is marketing the shuttle system to businesses for the transportation authority.
Burlington County Times

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