LONG BRANCH: The city's shuttle service, which has been around since 2012, may be in its final year.
Long Branch Director of Economic Development and Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) Coordinator Jacob Jones said the service, which is one of the projects sponsored by the UEZ, is being contracted for another year.
The Long Branch Council passed a resolution last month which approves a service agreement for the shuttle from Oct. 1, 2015-Sept. 30, 2016 for $55,500. That money comes from the UEZ and will be paid to Meadowlink, which operates the service.
However, Jones said federal funding which helps keep the shuttle going will run out after this year.
"We're trying to form a committee to see how we can up the ridership so that this project will be self sustaining in the future," Jones said. "After this year, we don't want to see the service end, because our subsidy (from the federal government) will end."
Jones has said the shuttle ridership has been lower than expected and that an alternate funding source must be found.
"Unless we get some corporate sponsors and local sponsors or some subsidies from the government or somebody, it's going to be tough to keep the program going," Jones said.
He said the hope is to find a better way to promote the service and increase the number of stops it makes around the city.
The shuttle currently runs from Monday-Friday throughout the year and extends to Saturday and Sunday during the summer months. Some of the stops include the Long Branch Train Station, Monmouth University, Pier Village and the corner of Second and Brighton Avenue in West End.