Jersey Jitneys Caught Red-Handed

Posted on June 25, 2013 by

Several months ago I reported on how many jitney companies in New Jersey, which were originally intended as a means of beach-town transportation, are illegally operating as limousine services. In Atlantic City in particular, the Federal Transit Administration issued a cease-and-desist order to the Atlantic City Jitney Association (ACJA), ordering them to halt all charter services. In particular, the FTA order pointed out that ACJA vehicles violate the FTA’s charter-service regulations because they are federally funded vehicles.

Further, operators from throughout the state have been complaining that jitneys are doing point-to-point services, such as transportation for weddings, parties and sporting events.

Of course, all that matters little until you catch them in the act, right?

Well, on June 10, members of the Limousine Associations of New Jersey testified at a hearing held by the New Jersey Legislature Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, chaired by Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, D-19. Association members presented the committee with some rather damning pictures of jitneys caught red-handed, said Barry Lefkowitz, LANJ executive director. The committee was shown photos of jitney operators doing interstate transportation taking passengers to Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankee games, and shots of jitneys doing prom service.  

The committee was taken aback, Lefkowitz says.

The safety factors at play are pretty clear with this issue. For one, the jitneys don’t carry near the level of insurance required of limousines or buses. For example, jitneys are only required to have coverage up to $135,000, whereas buses are required to have $5 million in insurance.

Of course, the problem here is that clients most likely don’t know they’re traveling in an underinsured vehicle — even small beach town officials probably don’t realize it either.

LANJ is working with State Assemblyman Charles Mainor, D-31, to push legislation that would require jitney operators to abide by the same rules and regulations as limo companies, including minimum insurance requirements, criminal background checks, and oversight by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC).

What’s promising is that many agencies and associations agree that the jitneys are a nuisance, from the NJMVC, to DOT, to the New Jersey Bus Association.

File this under To Be Continued…

—    Denis Wilson, LCT East Coast Editor

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