January 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - During Monday night’s town council meeting, board members evaluated the current status of the Livingston Primetime Shuttle which began use on Oct. 1, based on its revenue thus far.
Alan Karpas, who brought the shuttle idea to Livingston, presented the total number of monthly users and revenue the shuttle is bringing in for the town.
Karpas explained that Hurricane Sandy set back the shuttle’s income for November and carried over to December.
“Hopefully we can make up for the two months,” Karpas said. “People love it; they park free, pay $2 and get to the South Orange station in very little time.”
An underlining issue that has also set back the potential growth of the shuttle is the 6:20 p.m. Midtown Direct South Orange train, which causes extra traffic.
Mayor Rudy Fernandez explained that he met with NJ Transit as well as local town mayors to discuss a remedy.
“NJT is going to cut down on the number of stops to decrease traffic,” Fernandez said. “I think that will help with the number of people using the shuttle.”
Karpas also discussed the possibility of advertising on the shuttle bus, in which numerous local businesses are interested in.
“Valley National Bank, Coldwell Realtors and several other local Realtors are interested in taking ads on the bus,” Karpas said.
He added that Investors Bank is considering taking up the whole bus with their ads. To cover the whole bus, Karpas explained, it would cost $2,500 a month, with a three-month minimum commitment. The company pays for the ads, and the money goes directly to the township.
Karpas said he could probably have the ad sales completed within the next 30 days and if the whole bus is purchased, the shuttle would only have to bring in $1,000 a month to at the very least, break even.
Council members decided that they will discuss the shuttle’s potential future further, during the March 4 meeting.
In other news, a burglar/fire alarm ordinance and fees were discussed for the first time with council members.
Township Manager Michele Meade explained that the ordinance would state that alarm system users would be allowed two free “false alarms” before getting charged a fee for the inconvenience of first responders.
She explained that the tax payers of Livingston would no longer be charged for false alarms, instead, people would get charged individually.
“It is more appropriate to charge users of service than tax payers for false alarms, since there are about 3,500 per year,” Meade said.
Meade explained that she recommended there be a $50 annual alarm registration fee, which is currently free.
“The fire chief recommended $35, but I recommend $50, Meade said.
Most of the board agreed that $50 was too expensive, especially when it is currently free.
Meade explained that it is quite costly for alarms to become registered due to the man power and right now, “it’s a huge subsidy that tax payers are paying” which they would no longer.
The council will discuss the ordinance and fees again at a future meeting.