July 3, 2016

Jitney downbeach: an experiment in public transport

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The downbeach jitney route - how long will it last?

UPDATED: This story was updated August 25, 2016 to include comments from Ventnor Commissioner Lance Landgraf. To read the original piece, a roundup of live tweeting from a downbeach jitney trip, scroll down.

A test-run to expand the Atlantic City jitney service downbeach to Ventnor and Margate earlier this summer was shut down after jitney drivers said there were too few passengers to make the route viable. It is possible, however, that the effort could be revived next year and Ventnor Commissioner Lance Landgraf said he would like to work with the Jitney Association to find ways to help it succeed for residents.

“We would welcome it back and we would certainly sit down with them and try and make it better if we could,” Landgraf said in a phone interview. “I would certainly welcome better transportation options for my city.”

It may be possible to test the service starting in the winter, Landgraf said. “Lets start in the winter time and hit the ground running by the spring and try to do this right,” he said.

Route 40 will try to cover developments on the service.

Below is the original piece, filed July 2016:

Last night I rode the jitney downbeach – through Ventnor and Margate – and then on two loops of Atlantic City, while live tweeting the journey. You can read the tweets and see the photos below. I learned a few things:

The downbeach jitney route - how long will it last?

The downbeach jitney route – how long will it last?

  1. The ‘downbeach’ jitney seemed doomed. Probably for a few different reasons, but there were precisely zero passengers at 8-8.30pm on the Saturday night of July 4 weekend and that’s not a good sign.
  2. The jitney in Atlantic City, on the other hand, seems to be doing pretty well, in spite of competition from Uber.
  3. Most of the people riding the jitney are traveling to and from work in Atlantic City, or they’re tourists, using it for drinking-friendly-and-safe transit between casinos.
  4. The tourists mostly found out about the jitney accidentally. One first learned of it from a guy she met on Tinder. The jitney could probably use some more publicity.

Hopefully, I’ll follow up with some video posted here in the next few days – I got some pretty spectacular views of the sunset over the bay, as well as fireworks in Atlantic City.

Here are some of the outtakes from the live Twitter feed – you can follow us @route_40

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