Get a Ride to and from Chowderfest, LBI Kite Festival, LBT Shellabration
The season for the LBI Shuttle is nearly over, but before the buses are retired for the remainder of the year, residents and visitors can still catch a ride on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 8. That means the shuttles are available to travel to and from Chowderfest this coming weekend and for the LBI FLY Kite Festival and the LBT Oyster Shellabration, both of which will take place over the Columbus Day weekend.
Shuttles hours are as follows: Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
According to Long Beach Township officials, ridership for the service is currently at 57,000, a number that will surely increase significantly following the big events of the upcoming weekends, for which the larger buses will likely be on the road to help accommodate more passengers.
Total money brought in by the program – which requires a ticket to ride as of this summer – is just under $150,000, said Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi, who devised the Island-wide transportation system more than five years ago. “That’s right where we expected to be,” he noted on Tuesday.
Currently, a single ride on the shuttle between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. costs $2, or passengers can pay $5 for unlimited rides during that time period. After 10 p.m., a one-way ride is $5, or pay $10 for unlimited rides until the shuttles stop operating.
And, kids younger than 13 ride for free.
The township also introduced a season pass for $100. One hundred of these were offered, and they all sold out. “We’ve had some interest from local businesses that might want to purchase these for their employees next summer,” Lattanzi pointed out.
Although the township plans to do a more detailed analysis after the buses are stored for the off-season, Lattanzi furnished some thoughts on the past summer. “I think we matched demand pretty well,” he remarked. “And we really didn’t have any issues with the late-night buses.” Through the heart of the summer, the shuttle service was available until 1:30 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and until 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
For next year, times and prices will likely remain more or less the same as this summer. The township does, though, want to work toward a cashless system for payment.
And Lattanzi would like to see a bus run to Manahawkin “for the express purpose of bringing summer workers to the Island,” particularly young people who don’t yet have a license. The commissioner imagines the shuttle would drive to one fixed location on the mainland to pick up employees for LBI establishments, which had “a major worker shortfall” this summer, Lattanzi said. “One of the major impediments is getting here.”
— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch