WOODBURY — Gloucester County Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger, Freeholder Heather Simmons and the United Way of Gloucester County announced that the Pascale Sykes Foundation has awarded a $1.2 million grant for an east-west transportation shuttle service to connect residents with major employment destinations.
Damminger said, “While public transportation is available north to south, there are no options for residents who live in Williamstown, Glassboro, Mullica Hill or Swedesboro. This new east to west shuttle will fill the gap to provide access to workplaces, human service locations and health care facilities. This is an essential piece of getting our residents to work and providing our employers with the employees they need.”
Damminger said that the shuttle would connect passengers with several NJ Transit buses that operate throughout Gloucester County, mostly in the north and south direction.
“The shuttle will provide direct service to major employment opportunities, medical and social service locations to over 20,000 households located in proximity to the route whose residents are dependent on public transportation,” stated Damminger.
Major employment destinations along the route include Liscio’s Bakery, Rastelli’s, Amazon and Pure Pak as well as opportunities to connect to the County One-Stop, medical appointments, shopping and to the Walter Rand Transportation Center.
According to Simmons, the shuttle schedule will be based on connecting with existing NJ Transit transportation services by providing supplementary, not competing, service for riders. “Two shuttles will run on a continues loop between six stops that begin at the NJ Transit Avondale Park & Ride and connect to five other stops throughout Gloucester County with a focus on serving employees of the Pureland Industrial Park whose work shifts begin between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.,” said Simmons. A third shuttle will operate inside the Pureland Industrial Park to provide access throughout the 3,000-acre area. The loop will be reversed between 2 and 6 p.m.
Damminger said that the county is donating three retired busses from its Transportation Division to be used to complete the routes. The United Way of Gloucester County will provide oversight and financial management of the program.
The Gloucester County Department of Human Services, Department of Economic Development, Planning Division and One-Stop Employment Services will provide access to potential ridership, knowledge of workforce locations and opportunities, provide employment skills and utilize retired busses for back up shuttles.
Frances P. Sykes said, “The Pascale Sykes Foundation is pleased to support the Pureland East-West Community Shuttle of Gloucester County. This new bus route will provide easy access to Pureland Industrial Park and also connect with New Jersey Transit bus routes. A shuttle bus within Pureland Industrial Park will take workers to their specific worksites. We are glad to assist the men and women of greater Gloucester County as they strive to provide for themselves and their families.”
Michael Gower, Executive Director of the United Way of Gloucester County, stated “The United Way of Gloucester County is in a unique position where we can listen to the needs in our community and find creative ways to bring together collaborations and partnerships to address these key issues. This transportation initiative is a great example of this process. Individuals in our community raised concerns regarding the lack of transportation along the route 322 corridor. This transportation shuttle will not just help these individuals but also the local corporations and businesses that are key contributors to the United Way’s campaign. This is a win-win for everyone that live and work in our community.”
Gower thanked all the individuals from the various agencies, businesses, community volunteers, county and local government that came together to make this shuttle service possible. “We are able to do more together than by trying to address these issues in a vacuum.”
Simmons said, “This collaborative effort between the United Way of Gloucester County, many Gloucester County departments, South Jersey Transportation Authority, Heart of Gloucester County, and Cross County Connection will help hundreds of residents get to and from a job or an appointment that they previously had no access to without a car. Our goal is to help people get to work.”
A spring start-up is planned for the shuttle service. The first month of ridership will be free and after that the charge will be $1 for each one-way trip. A transfer agreement with NJ Transit is being worked out for the many connections on this route.