Expanded shuttle to help Salem County residents get to jobs & keep them
Landing a job can be a life-changing event.
But without reliable transportation to get to the job, chances of keeping it can be iffy.
Enter the Salem County Community Shuttle. Begun in 2013, the shuttle has expanded, providing a reliable way to get to and from work.
On Wednesday, officials from Mid-Atlantic States Career and Education Center along government and business leaders announced that the Gateway Business Park in Oldmans Township would be now included in the shuttle’s loop.
“Now people have the opportunity to get a job and keep a job,” said Dave Zeck, Mid-Atlantic’s director of specialized programs. The transportation service makes “a difference between somebody having a job or not having a job. It helps people move to the next phase of their lives.”
With one of the shuttle buses parked in front of Gateway’s tenant Mullica Hill Cold Storage Wednesday, a ceremonial ribbon cutting was held to mark inauguration of the stops at the business park.
Salem County Freeholder Director Julie Acton said once word gets out more about the shuttle more people will get on board.
“Salem County is going to profit from it because it’s going to put people back to work,” Acton said.
Glen Donelson , president/CEO of Mid-Atlantic, said all too often those being trained by Mid-Atlantic for jobs are being held back because of the lack of transportation.
Keith Dengelegi, general manager of Mullica Hill Cold Storage, sees the expanded shuttle service as a plus.
“Obviously a service like this could open up employment opportunities. I think it could be a plus.”
The business park on Straughens Mill Road off Interstate 295 is continuing to expand — and there’s plenty of space for new growth — but its remote location means transportation is needed to get there.
The 284-acre park’s tenants include Mullica Hill Cold Storage, J.E. Berkowitz, Goya Foods, National Freight Industries and Manfredi Cold Storage. Construction of other large warehouses are under way with tenants yet to be announced.
The stops at Gateway will be in addition to the present routes which include the Pureland and Commodore business parks in nearby Gloucester County and the Clara Barton and John Fenwick services areas on the New Jersey Turnpike.
One of the important features of the service are that it runs around the clock to provide workers on either the first,. Second or third shifts a way to and from work.
Ridership averages about 700 people per month. The service has seen double-digit increased in ridership through the summer as the word got out about the service and more patrons began using it, Mid-Atlantic officials said.
The route runs from Salem City, through Pennsville, Carneys Point and Penns Grove and then north to the job sites.
The Community Shuttle of Salem County is not designed to replace the services of NJ Transit in Salem County but to supplement the service, filling in the gaps where transportation is needed, Mid-Atlantic officials said.
Officials note that shuttle service is not just for workers getting to and from job sites. It can be used for trips to doctors’ appointments or even shopping.
The fee for riding the shuttle is just $2.
The shuttle is being operated by Mid-Atlantic through a partnership with the County of Salem, the Pascale Sykes Foundation, the New Jersey Transit Authority, Salem County One Stop Career Center, Salem and Penns Grove Ministeriums and the City of Salem and Borough of Penns Grove.
For more information the shuttle service, call 856-514-2200 Ext. 103 or visit the Mid-Atlantic’s website at www.wegrowpeople.org.
By Bill Gallo Jr. | For NJ.com