Two rolling chair companies will take Atlantic City to court Wednesday after City Council approved a trial run for jitney trams.
The battery-run prototype is set to debut Thursday, offering free rides for the first week, then charging $3 beginning April 26.
But, according to the complaint, there are several issues that need to be addressed first, including whether the Boardwalk is structurally able to hold the additional vehicle traffic and if decisions about the Boardwalk fall under the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority since it’s within the Tourism District.
Ocean Rolling Chairs and Atlantic City Boardwalk Rolling Chairs filed the civil action and represent more than 200 rolling chairs on the Boardwalk, said Northfield attorney Joel Schwartz, who is representing them.
“That’s the whole idea of this is to do a test run,” Jitney Association President Tom Woodruff said, adding that the move came after meetings with City Council.
Since the Boardwalk’s within the Tourism District, Schwartz questioned whether City Council has that authority.
“You also have to take into account safety precautions, traffic issues and legal ramifications,” he said. “Arguably, these trams have the potential to put 200 to 300 people (who operate rolling chairs) out of work.”
Chancery Judge Raymond Batten denied a request to immediately stop the test run, but will have a hearing at 2:30 p.m. today to allow the city to say why such an order should not be issued.
City Council approved a trial run at its March meeting, but was set to repeal it April 9. Instead, the resolution was amended to remove a part that included Segways.
The Jitney Association was given until May 2 for the test run. If it’s successful, the plan is to order more of the vehicles and start service in the summer. The plan would be to run from the Revel to Chelsea Avenue, which was by recommendation from the engineer, Woodruff said.
The city engineer also was given the specifications of the tram, and they seemed to fall within the parameters, Woodruff added.
The CRDA referred any comment on the litigation to the city.
Schwartz said he would be delivering a copy of the complaint to the CRDA’s attorney as well. But as of Tuesday afternoon, CRDA attorney Paul Weisscq said he has not received anything.
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