FLEMINGTON, NJ - As Hunterdon County deals with the coronavirus public health emergency this spring, it maintains and oversees the LINK bus, a vital transportation network for people to continue to seek and collect essential goods and services including food, prescription or pharmacy needs and other resources for well-being.
New measures for social distancing and cleaning protocols have been established in response to the pandemic.
At Tuesday’s special Board of Chosen Freeholders’ meeting, Deputy Freeholder Director Sue Soloway explained the continued operation of the county’s public transportation system, which operates on scheduled routes (including to markets and shopping centers), as well as offering on-demand service for residents.
Soloway said adjustments were made in March and procedures were put in place to protect those using the LINK and for the drivers who continue serving residents.
Soloway said the regular LINK service “shuffle routes” continue with six routes, No. 14 through 19. Routes 16 and 19 are the Flemington Borough-Raritan Township shuffle routes running from Monday to Friday.
At present, there is no 6:30 a.m. run from Flemington to Raritan Valley Community College, as the college is closed.
For the protection of passengers and drivers, there is currently a strict limit of five riders at a time, which was coordinated to ensure on-board social distancing.
“On-board, there are no exchanges between passengers and the driver, including no tickets, no receipts,” Soloway said. “No change and no bills for fares being accepted are permitted in order to decrease potential contact between passengers and drivers.”
Once per week, Easton Coach, the county’s new vendor for LINK bus service, performs deep cleanings of buses. Every day, drivers are required to give the interior of the LINK bus a wipe down with cleaning wipes and solution.
“I am told that drivers are actually performing this service, which is outside of their normal duties, much more frequently than once daily,” Soloway said. “I would like to express thanks on behalf of the freeholder board and also from LINK users in the county to the bus drivers from Easton Coach who are out there every day. They’re a group of unsung heroes during this public health emergency.”
“The LINK transportation network continues to provide a lifeline for many individuals in Hunterdon County who do not have access to their own transportation,” she added. “Residents in need of transportation for shopping, essential medical travel or to get to work can continue to contact the LINK system for the demand and response service. Without that service, individuals needing to get to the doctor or to do shopping would be cut off. The LINK also continues to provide service to the dialysis center for those who need it.”
For more information on the LINK in Hunterdon County, visit RidetheLink.com.