Nighttime jitney service to Atlantic City’s Back Maryland section has been stopped due to near-nightly attacks on the buses by vandals armed with rocks, Jitney Association President Tom Woodruff said.
Damage to windows reached about $6,000 in the past two weeks — including one night when three jitneys were struck, Woodruff said. Pond rocks put down to beautify the area instead have been “a pile of ammunition” for those attacking the jitneys.
“It’s really sad that these kids have to destroy something that’s good for the neighborhood,” Jeanette Bundy, 59, said Thursday, as she stood on North Maryland Avenue, where she has lived for more than 40 years. “I think it’s disgusting because who suffers is the people who need it.
Bundy, like many in the neighborhood, relies on jitneys to get her to and from work each day.
Woodruff said he realizes that good people will be affected by the decision, but that it was one that needed to be made because of the cost to the drivers and for the safety of passengers.
“Over the past month, I’d say, it’s really gotten out of hand,” he said. “The drivers themselves, that’s money out of their pocket. And our fear is someone could get hurt. It’s not just monetary, it’s a safety issue.”
Woodruff reached out to Councilman Marty Small in hopes that he could rally his constituents in the area to find out who is causing the problem and end it.
“I am working hard with the Jitney Association to try to resolve this matter,” Small said. “It paints the whole Marina District with a broad brush. And, the truth is, it may not even be kids from Back Maryland. But it’s happening in Back Maryland.”
Small was telling residents the service will be stopped for the entire area from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Bundy’s nephew, Damian Jones, works varying shifts at the Showboat Casino-Hotel and said he doesn’t want to have to wait far from his home for a jitney, or walk blocks at night because he can’t get dropped off nearby.
“I’m not working right now,” said Beatriz Rodriguez, 51, who has lived in the area for 14 years. “But I use them to go to the pharmacy or shopping.”
“I used to use the jitneys all the time years ago,” said Donald Burnside, 48. “To cut out such a vital resource, the law-abiding citizens will be the ones who suffer. People who need the jitneys aren’t standing out here armed with rocks.”
Police were not immediately able to comment on the attacks. Sgt. Monica McMenamin, spokeswoman for the department, said she checked with clerks who take complaints, and they had not been informed of an increase in complaints involving the jitneys.
Woodruff said police have been notified when the incidents happen, but that it’s difficult for drivers to stay in the area when they have passengers who need to get where they’re going.
“I’m devastated,” Bundy said. “This is crazy. Somebody’s got to know something. Everybody always wants it to stop but never says anything.”
“Exactly,” Rodriguez said. “Everybody wants to fix it but nobody talks.”
Anyone with information about the attacks is asked to call Atlantic City police at 609-347-5766 or Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234. Information may also be texted anonymously to tip411 (847411) beginning the text with ACPD.
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