W.O. Shuttle Service Hotline Number: 973-325-4183
Well it looks like this blog entry is being spammed to death in the comments. I will update the blog section as required, and until I can clean up the hundreds of spam, we will have to leave it as is...funny no other blog entries I have are being affected this way. Makes you think.
A record of Shuttle miscues follow the Updates
UPDATE: 10/05/2006 News From the Meeting with the Mayor
Yes two riders showed up to meet with the Mayor. David, a former rider from Route 3, (he just received his long awaited parking spot in South Orange and has no need to ride the shuttle), and I.
The mayor introduced everyone
Lenny - Municipal Engineer
Jack - Business Administrator
Rob - Transerve, Inc.
Hellen - Manager Transerve, Inc.
The Mayor spoke for about 10 minutes on the history of the shuttle service, how they came to award the contract to the current vendor and the news about the township's purchase of an additional bus Hellen spoke about the current stability of the drivers, and the two backup drivers that they have. That the drivers had received a raise, and were comfortable with the job.
From: TENTATIVE AGENDA TOWNSHIP COUNCIL JUNE 27, 2006
"Award of Bid One (1) 25 Passenger Bus, American
Bus and Coach LLC, 2595 East State Street,
Trenton, NJ 08619 in the Amount of $51,190"
With the intention of placing this larger bus on
the route that needs it the most, and starting the fourth route
For those who want to know who the vendor is
From: TENTATIVE AGENDA TOWNSHIP COUNCIL MAY 23, 2006
"Award of Bid – Licensed Motor Vehicle Drivers
for Midtown Direct Shuttle Bus Program –
Transerve, Inc., 240 No. Grove Street, East
Orange, New Jersey 07017 in the Amount of $211,700"
The other shuttle rider spoke for a few minutes,
and mentioned many of the same topics that I have
listed below. There was open discussion about
the topics and possible solutions.
The town resolved to review each of the following:
Institute three email lists for the notification
of riders about sudden changes to the service.
Considering that many of us have blackberries,
and cell phones that can receive messages, those
of us on the list will tell others.
We need to work with the township to build the
three lists, standardize the messages, and set
guidelines for when they will be sent.
I spoke about how important the shuttle was to me
selecting West Orange as a viable place to buy a
house, I then started to read selective items
from the list below, and we discussed them one by one.
The town resolved to review each of the following:
Posting a telephone number in every bus in order
to make complaints about UNSAFE driving. This will be direct to Hellen.
Buses will be looked over for rattles and loose items.
Buses will be placed on a tighter maintenance schedule
All switches on the buses will be labelled with their function
Drivers will be instructed on the use of rear AC
with front AC and not turn on the rear heat by accident
The information line being kept up to date
Increasing the capacity of the existing buses by
working with the NJ MVS commission
Changing of Route 1 evening runs to pick up at South Orange only
Not charging for the service
Improving the driver training so they can fill in for each other
Adding an additional morning run t meet the 9:00 to NY
Adding an additional evening run to meet the 7:15 from NY
Creating specific procedures to eliminate the
confusion that occurs when there is a problem
The following is the agenda that I brought with
me. Jack asked me for a copy and I provided him one.
West Orange Ridership Community
Town Hall Meeting with the Mayor
The following is a list of grievances that have
been noted since November 2005 on the WORC blog
by riders of the shuttle for the purpose of opening discussions on these topics
1. Shuttles are
iii. Don't arrive at all
iv. Break down
v. Can't climb the hill
vi. Slip and slide in rain and snow
B. Vehicle Maintenance
1. Shuttles have
i. Noises that sound like they are going to fall apart at any moment
ii. Nonfunctional AC
iii. Electric doors don't open/close
iv. Broken window latches
v. Mechanical doors that don't open all the way / lock open
vi. Interior panels held in place with duct tape.
C. Drivers, How to Recruit and Retain
D. Driver Training
1. Drivers are shown the route by one of the other drivers
2. Receive copies of the schedule without a town map
3. Need the riders to show them the route.
4. Don't understand how the routes overlap
5. Don't know the names of the streets
6. Don't know what all the switches on the dash are for
7. Don't know if they are controlling the heater or the cooling
8. Use cell phones while driving
9. Hold clip boards and pens while driving
so they can update the log at each stop
10. Are not always courteous
11. Are not always agreeable to looking at
the printed schedule to settle disputes.
12. Provide answers like "They should be here
soon" when what they should be saying "I don't
know, but I can try to find them"
13. Reluctant to use the radio to locate an absent driver.
E. Information Line
1. Almost never has a current message on it.
2. Complaints are not always responded to.
F. Shuttle Schedule
1. Late - Although this has happened, I
personally can't say that I have actually missed
a train because of it. Usually the driver skips
Mountain Station which inconveniences some riders who take the Hoboken train.
2. Early - This can be a real problem, as it
is not always easy to be waiting at your stop 5
minutes early just in case the bus is early. One
rider on Colony Drive east would hold the bus if
it was early knowing that many riders would have missed it if he didn't.
G. Passenger capacity of the busses
1. Route 1 has had situations where the bus
was filled, and the driver passed just blew the horn as she passed us by.
H. Stop Locations
1. Who defined them
2. How are the riders to know
i. Above or below Gregory
ii. Should we cross this busy street
3. Picking up passengers at Mountain Station
- not allowed, but some do it anyway
4. Dropping off passengers in South Orange on evening runs
I. Modification to the Schedule
1. Modifications to the schedule, either
pickup times, or locations, should be made only
after consultation with and notification of the
riders and a reasonable period of comment.
i. Hillside and Forest Hills stop was eliminated, then restored.
J. Fee for service
1. Would paying for the service make it any better?
K. Making Decisions
1. Supervisors are not available when the shuttles are running
2. Drivers don't seem to have a clear
understanding of who is in charge when a supervisor is not available
1. Drivers should be provided a high quality
color map of the town with all three routes outlined, with street names.
2. Drivers should be trained on all three routes.
3. Drivers should be expected to know all
three routes so that they can fill in.
4. Drivers should know "who is in charge"
when a supervisor is not available
B. Modify the routes
1. Route 1 should no longer provide service via the Orange train station.
i. There are no trains that stop at Orange
that don't also stop at South Orange, therefore
by modifying the schedule all riders can use the
South Orange train station with a 00:30 minute adjustment to their schedule.
ii. By reversing the path of Route 1, the
drivers are confused when they first start running it.
iii. By having one bus at Orange, and one at
South Orange in the evening, if one driver is
sick, there is no ability for a rider to "take
the other bus" to at least get close to home.
iv. Drivers picking up at Orange don't
understand that they have to do both Route 1 and 2 on the first evening run
v. Riders from Route 1 who only return home
on the early train (4:43 or 5:20) once a month or
less inadvertently proceed to South Orange, and
then ask the drivers of Route 2 and 3 "where is
the Route 1 Bus?" its in Orange of course.
2. All routes should be modified to accommodate the Hoboken trains
i. While this shuttle service was started by
NJ Transit as an adjunct to the Midtown Direct
Service, it has grown since 1999. It would
benefit some riders if the schedule were modified
to accommodate the Hoboken train schedule.
ii. Mountain Station should be skipped, with
the bus proceeding directly to South Orange station.
3. Review the value of adding a late evening
shuttle to meet the 7:15 from NY (Train 6363)
i. Five days a week or only four
ii. All three buses, or just one running a modified route
4. Review the value of adding an additional
morning shuttle for the 9:00 train to NY (Train 6234)
5. Review the coverage provided by the
service, and make changes to the routes in order to:
i. Increase coverage in West Orange
ii. Eliminate crossing routes
a. i.e.: Routes 1 and 2 both cover sections of the lower valley
iii. Eliminate redundant coverage
a. i.e.: Route 2 and 3 both drive Luddington
although officially Route 3 doesn't have any stops on Luddington.
C. Evaluate the Bus Capacity Limits
1. Who sets the limits
2. How are the limits set
3. What modifications can be made to the bus
in order to increase the limits
4. Who do we petition for a review of the Standee limit
D. Additional township support
1. Request the WO DPW to clear and salt all
three routes before the morning and evening runs.
E. Contingency Plans
1. Plans must be prepared in case of:
i. Drivers calling out
ii. Broken equipment
iii. Road closures
iv. Trains running late
vi. Snow blocked streets
III. The Future
A. New Buses
1. Are we still on schedule to receive the new bus
On November 14, 2005, Mayor John McKeon announced
West Orange has received funding for a new
commuter shuttle bus from New Jersey Transit as
part of a grant secured by Congressmen William J.
Pascrell (D), 8th District and Donald M. Payne
(D), 10th District. This is the fourth shuttle
bus for West Orange, and the third provided by
grants from New Jersey Transit. Scheduled to
serve the neighborhoods of Prospect and Mt.
Pleasant Avenues, the commuter shuttle bus is
expected to be delivered in late 2006 or early 2007
Philip J. Altenburg
UPDATE 11/26/2006 The Mayor has sent an email invititing all of the Jitney Riders to attend a meeting they are calling for council chambers. I will try and dig up the email list I had collected and forward the invitattion. Funny thing, it will be one year from next Novemeber that we have been asking for this meeting.
There will be a meeting of the West Orange Township Administration and riders of the Midtown Direct Shuttle Bus Tuesday, October 3rd at 7:30 pm Council Chambers- Municipal Building, 66 Main Street
Please invite all individuals concerned over the issues that have arisen and seeking a resolution to them
Office of the Mayor: John F. McKeon 66 Main Street West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone: 973-325-4100 Fax: 973-669-0238 www.westorange.org
UPDATE 08/11/2006 Well no more Shuttle riding for me until September. I hope you all have a good summer, and GOOD LUCK!
UPDATE 08/03/2006 I just got a call from Mildred who works for the town. She wanted to know about the Buses that didn't come on Monday and the other problems we have been seeing, because“this is the first I've heard of this“. And she also said she didn't know that the shuttle broke down. I have no iudea how that's possisble. The damn thing needed to be towed. Also she wanted to let me know that the problems aren't their fault because they contracted it out and they dn't have any control over them. I explained that they are in breach oof contract, and she said that she doesn't read.....um, the contracts. I aksed why don't they look into what South Orange or Maplewood do. She said I could call Lenny and ask him if I like. It looks like this could turn bad. All I know is that I'm gone in 1 week!
UPDATE 08/02/2006 So here's the story. The reason the Route#1 shuttle didn't show was because the shuttle broke down. Well now there's a scoop. I told the driver that the steering wheel belt was going to break...and, to my astonishment....it did. Now this morning I was running “late“. And by late, I mean I was only 5 minutes early...and I had the pleasure of wathcing the back-end of the shuttle driving away. I am not a very happy camper today. I went back to my house, and only because my wife works during the school year I didn't have to walk. So now I'm driving down to Mountain...and I catch and pass the shuttle....it is still picking up lower Route #2 because they still don't have a driver...I can only surmise that they are running ahead of schedule to cover both routes...things are not as bad as they were, but things aren't good...plus the shuttles are a death trap...I'm wondering when a wheel is going to fall off. Did I say I wasn't happy today? Please continue to post shuttle problems and I will add them to the log...was hoping I didn't have to do this anymore.
UPDATE 07/27/2006 21:43 OK....I received a communication from the WO Council tonight. They indicated that they are try to make sure that they take care of our issues in concern to the consistensy of the shutlle. I replied to them that we are appreacitive of their efforts, but we thought it might be a good thing to have a voice of the community involved with the council. If anyone thinks this is a good idea, please, let me know.
UPDATE 07/27/2006 11:15 A response from the Mayor to Rennee
"Hello Renee, We are unfortunately acutely aware of the shuttle issues and as frustrated that the new vender is not performing up to specifications. We are in the process of looking at alternatives but private operators are difficult to find and rely upon. We are working on a solution and quite
mindful of the inconvenience to our commuters.
But what we all have to understand as well, as much as there is difficulty with the vendor (yet maplewood and South Orange don't seem to have any) the conditions of the shuttle are directly the town responsibility. They are not being maintained properly and seem very unsafe, not to mention the A/C that doesn't work. I wondeer how the seiors that use it during the day don't pass out. The township should be looking to partner with the surrounding towns to see how they manage their services.
UPDATE 07/27/2006: Well, it appears Linda was correct that they were, and still are unprepared. Route #2 did not show yesterday, nor today. But Route #1 and #3 picked up the slack. Now for the overcrowding we have seen, and since it's only the summer months, it may very well be that they will have to bypass riders on their own routes because of the doubling up of the ridership. The ridership should not complain if they don't want to take any action. A while back the residents of the St.Cloud community forced the Mayor and the township to a meeting to install speedbumps. They had a community action committee that was organized and had a plan of action. If all we want to do is sporadically complain, I don't see how anything is going to change. Anyone want to start a pool as to when the buses fall completely apart....and how's that A/C doing on your buses. Me personally, I like getting off the bus soaked because it's like riding in a sauna...don't you?
UPDATE 07/26/2006: OK, this post has to be blogged up here. I am still recommending that we form a committee and look for an individual or two or three who have had dealings with government bodies as part of their work experience.
# re: EMERGENCY NEWS FLASH - route 2 7/25/2006 1:57 PM Linda
Tuesday, July 25th - 7:10 am, rte. 2 shuttle.
UPDATE 07/24/2006: Besides the fact that Route 1 always seems to be the route the is ignored, this blog has now over 8,000 hits. And even though the fact that the shuttles seem to be running regulary, does anyone think that we shouldn't have at least the same service as in South Orange...like buses that are safe or have A/C or driver's who don't talk on cell phones when they drive? I knew that once complacency set in the ridership would not want to form a committe to deal with the town to address issues concerning the shuttle. Well we may be back in the same boat. Get your walking shoes back out again. Hey, at least it's not winter. Those thuderstorms have been pretty exicting lately...
UPDATE 07/12/2006: Well it seems the shuttle has run into other problems now. It has becom TOO popular. There seems to be no room left on the buses for the later routes, as far as seats are concerned, and the drivers won't pick up anyone if the bus is full. Now I'm a train rider, but don't people stand on buses either? I guess the gas prices are prompting mor and more people to take the train. It's amazing the number of new faces I see almost on a daily basis. Not only is the shuttle full, but the trains are now packed. I take a train where, in the school season, the Seton Hall Prep boys ride, and it's packed then...it's going to be an interesting fall.....I have a letter to the mayor that philip has sent...it is logged below.
To Consolidate the weblog, I have moved the original post outlining the communities problems, here
WO Ridership Community Comment Log
With the transisition of the service all previous comments have to be moved to the history link below. Hopefully there won't be any need for any new comments about service disruptions.
The driver informed all of us that today was her LAST day and to be prepared as they do not have a new driver to cover her for route 2. In addition to this, she told us that her supervisor does NOT have her license that permits her to drive the shuttle and that her supervisor KNEW about her leaving her employment approximately 2 months ago.
Her supervisor's name is Helen Hart and you can reach her at 973-672-5277.
08/04/2006 The Route 1 Shuttle, The first shuttle out of Orange did not show
08/02/2006 The Route 1 Shuttle, 1-06 8:04 Shuttle at Bradford was 5 minutes early
07/31/2006 The Route 1 Shuttle, 12-01 5:17 Shuttle did not show.
07/24/2006 The Route 1 Shuttle, Bus Trips All morning did not show. Here we go again.
W.O.Ridership Community Historical Comment Log
Links to communications
Thur 02/01/2006 10:09 PM West Orange Shuttle Transition comments to the Mayor
Thur 01/05/2006 11:45 AM Fax to the Mayor regarding degraded Shuttle Service NYC StrapHangers ResponseThank You Email to the NYC StraphangersCorrection to Incident Date and TimeResponse to Captain Feula, Patrol Commander, W.O. Police DepartmentResponse from Captain Matthew Feula, W.O. Police Department Mayor's response to mugging inquiryCommunication to the Mayor's Office requesting information about muggings of Shuttle riders
Wed 11/16/2005 11:34 AM
Tue 11/15/2005 03:02 PM
Wed 11/09/2005 02:10 PM
Mon10/03/2005 Peggy Cope's October 3rd Communication with Mayor McKeon and his Response
W.O. Ridership Community Action List
1. Examine what steps can be taken to recruit and reatin quality drivers
2. Ensure that the shuttles are inspected for saftey by an outside party on a regular basis
3. Request Additional late evening shuttle runs from South Orange
4. Request another shuttle to catch the 9:00 train in the morning
5. Erect Shuttle Stop Shelters for the ridership community to wait in during inclemet weather.
6. Make sure the shuttles wait for delayed trains until the last possible moment before heading off to make the next run in the evenings
7. Have the evening Midtown direct shuttles wait for the Hoboken trains when they are only a few minutes apart.
8. Have more support of drivers and riders to make sure there is coverage in the early morning and late evening runs. Currently there is no support from the main office.
9. Have special attention by the Department of Public Works during snow removal to make sure each of the routes are plowed and salted before and/or during the scheduled times of the shuttle runs.
Email From the NYC Straphanger's in response to request on forming a community Communication from Director Lepore and the Ridership's request for Service Resumption Notification to Mayor Mckeon on the formation of the Community
Wed 11/30/2005 11:13 AM
Wed 11/30/2005 09:49 AM
Tue 11/29/2005 11:28 AM
Tue 11/29/2005 11:00 AM
Mon 11/28/2005 02:34 PM
Wed 11/23/2005 11:50 AM Letter to West Orange Chief of Police concerning muggings
Mon 11/21/2005 01:11 PM
Mon 11/21/2005 11:57 AM
Wed 11/16/2005 04:11 PM WO Ridership Community Response to Mayor McKeon
Wed 11/16/2005 03:50 PM Mayor McKeons Response to The WO Ridership Community's request for Shuttle Service Resumption