The following is a plan by the Atlantic City Jitney Association to buy vehicles that would provide transportation on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. It brings up many questions as to whether or not there should be vehicles on the Boardwalk, as in other seashore resorts. The proposal has several interesting aspects of using the vehicles to enhance people's experience while in Atlantic City. This is the proposal:

The Boardwalk jitney would be a 15-foot custom electric-powered shuttle.

Unlike past tram operations that move people around like cattle, the colorful Boardwalk jitneys would provide a transportation experience.

Riders would travel in comfort onboard open-air or fully enclosed air-conditioned and heated vehicles.

Each Boardwalk jitney would be owned or operated by a professional driver whose job description will be that of an ambassador for Atlantic City. The drivers take pride in being an integral part of the fabric of Atlantic City, and this feeling of pride would be unmistakable to each passenger as drivers personally welcome them aboard. The visitor experience would be enhanced as soon as the passengers realize they will be riding in something different, captivated by a video history of Atlantic City, while they enjoy the sights and sounds of Atlantic City's world-famous Boardwalk.

This project is beneficial to the city of Atlantic City because it offers an additional, unique Boardwalk amenity. Merchants at both ends of the Boardwalk would experience higher foot traffic as a direct result of the shuttles’ ability to move people along the lesser-traveled parts of the Boardwalk.

The Jitney Association proposes making a $500,000 investment. Using its own funding, the association will purchase and maintain approximately 10 electric shuttles. They would be owned and operated by current members of the ACJA.

Having a vested interest in the business as opposed to employee operated/absentee owners lends to accountability and a better customer impression of Atlantic City.

The proposed shuttles would operate in a designated lane of the Boardwalk with stops every block or so. Customers would pay one fee, as yet to be determined, that would enable them to get on or off anywhere along the 3-mile route. Fares would be one way, no round-trip without additional payment.

Each shuttle would be equipped with LED video screens that could be used for advertising Atlantic City attractions or other informational opportunities. Shuttles would also be equipped with warning lights and a voice message identifying their presence.

The Jitney Association believes this project will add another dimension to transportation in Atlantic City. It would have an immediate impact by not only delivering a much-needed Boardwalk transportation, but also by demonstrating that Atlantic City is committed to projects that are dedicated to enhancing the visitor’s experience.

Although the speed of these vehicles is up to 25 mph, they would have a 4 mph limit placed on them. With a maximum load, the vehicles would be 3,000 pounds. The vehicles have head, tail and brake lights. They also have side and rear view mirrors and windshield wipers. They would carry 12 to 15 passengers.

The Department of Transportation has approved the use of these vehicles. The Atlantic City Jitney Association will also need the approvals of Mayor Don Guardian, City Council and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. With their approvals, it is anticipated they could be in operation for this summer season.

Notes of interest

PACIFIC AVENUE: The announced spring starting date for the repaving of Pacific Avenue from Albany to Missouri avenues has been changed to a starting date of after the Miss America Competition in September. The new plan will have work start at both ends of Pacific and move toward the middle. Doing it in this fashion will have it completely finished in the fall.

This is very disconcerting to those who use Pacific Avenue on a regular basis such as jitneys, taxicabs and local residents. One good aspect of doing it this way is that South Jersey Gas Co. will have completed all of its work on its lines under the road before the beginning of the repaving.

ATLANTIC CITY’S AMBASSADORS: The Special Improvement Division will soon be hiring 13 new Ambassadors to increase the staffing level back to 60. Training for them will begin in 10 days and last for two weeks. Fifteen seasonal Ambassadors will be hired in May to be available on the Boardwalk and throughout the Tourism District by mid-June. This will bring the Ambassador staffing level to 75 for the summer season.

Ambassadors continue to provide a visible presence despite some harsh winter weather conditions. They continue to advise the homeless of each “Code Blue” alert and contact the ACPD for the individuals if they wish to be transported to the Rescue Mission. Daily checks under the Boardwalk for homeless continue and individuals encountered are reported to the ACPD.

During the months of January, Ambassador Ryan Mazzeo was on the Boardwalk, in the area of Indiana Avenue. A man ran from a Boardwalk store and the store owner followed the subject out yelling that he had just been robbed. Mazzeo ran after the subject through Brighton Park and watched as he entered a taxi. Ambassador Jeff Hannon, who was on a bike, also saw what happened and attempted to have the cab driver wait for police.

The cab driver departed with the suspect in the cab. The Ambassadors contacted the Police Department and gave them the license plate number of the cab, a description of the subject as well as the direction the cab headed.

A short time later, Mazzeo was picked up by a police officer and the taxi was stopped by police in the vicinity of the bus station. There Mazzeo was able to positively identify the individual as the subject he was chasing. This is just one example of how the Ambassadors continue to act as additional eyes and ears for the city’s agencies and departments. Our congratulations and thanks for a job well done to Ambassadors Mazzeo and Hannon.