Tom Saitta, left, and Christopher DelCampo have to wait for the next bus back to Bald Eagle Commons. Two bus loads came to the township meeting two weeks ago to speak about transportation in the township. They're getting results.
“The plan is to try and go back to five days a week as soon as possible.”
Tim Roetman, director of Community Services and Recreation
BY LINDA SMITH HANCHARICK
WEST MILFORD — Two weeks ago, a large group of senior citizens came to the township council to make their case as to why the new three-day-a-week bus schedule was insufficient.
They certainly made an impact.
Last week the council vowed to find the funding and personnel necessary to return the transportation back to the 2016 level of five days a week.
In the meantime, the routing will soon change to accommodate the riders from Bald Eagle Commons.
Three days didn't workThe township went to a three-day-a-week schedule beginning in January, 2017, after losing a federal grant that provided the bulk of the funds for the bus. Community Services and Recreation Director Tim Roetman put together the three-day play in an attempt to salvage the much-needed transportation system that is open to all but used primarily by senior citizens in the township. The program would run on the township’s portion of just under $37,000, the amount left after the federal government pulled its share of approximately $110,000.
But it wasn’t working. Residents of Bald Eagle Commons, who are the bulk of the ridership, complained that the route was too long, leaving them riding around the township with no one getting on or off the bus.
A new planRoetman went back to the drawing board. After the residents voiced their opinions, the council agreed to find an additional $26,000 in the 2017 budget for the transportation program to return to five days a week. But that will take time. Roetman is looking for an additional bus driver to drive the two extra days each week, Tuesday and Thursday, at a rate of pay between $18 and $24 per hour, based on experience. The driver must have a CDL license with a “P” (passenger) endorsement.
Before that, though, Roetman said the routing will be changed so that there are more stops in Bald Eagle Commons to meet the demands of the ridership. A stop in Awosting that was added this year will be discontinued since it is not utilized. However, anyone in the township not on the regular route may call the township to request that the bus stop and pick them up. This new three-day-a-week schedule will begin on Monday, Feb. 27 (see box).
The new schedule has the bus returning directly to Bald Eagle in the late morning after pick up at ShopRite. Each one-way ride is $1.
“The plan is to try and go back to five days a week as soon as possible,” said Roetman. “We have to find a bus driver with the correct credentials and run a background check. It will take a little time. As soon as we hire a driver, we will make an announcement returning to five days per week.”
West Milford Bus Schedule MORNINGS A.M. AFTERNOONS P.M. Pickup Location Pickup Time Pickup Location Pickup Time Hillcrest Community Center 9:30 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 12:05 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 9 9:33 a.m. A&P Shopping Center 12:12 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 1 9:43 a.m. Lakeshore Dr. & Upper Greenwood Lake Rd. 12:18 p.m. Ridge Road to Westbrook Road (Request Only)9:48 a.m. Clinton Road & Warwick Tpke. 12:29 p.m. Macopin Rd to Hillcrest C.C. 9:55 a.m. A&P Shopping Center 12:35 p.m. Town Hall / Library 10:00 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 12:45 p.m. Lincoln Hill Village (Request Only) 10:04 a.m. Driver's Lunch Break Shop Rite Plaza 10:06 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 1:50 p.m. A&P Shopping Center 10:11 a.m. Hillcrest Community Center 1:55 p.m. Lakeshore Dr. & Upper Greenwood Lake Rd. 10:16 a.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 9 2:00 p.m. Clinton Road & Warwick Tpke. 10:27 a.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 1 2:10 p.m. A&P Shopping Center 10:35 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 2:15 p.m. Shop Rite Plaza 10:40 a.m. (Administrative Time) 2:30 p.m. Bald Eagle Village (Union Valley Rd.) 10:46 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 2:35 p.m. Bethel Ranch 10:51 a.m. Bald Eagle Village (Union Valley Rd.) 2:40 p.m. Shop Rite Plaza 11:00 a.m. Bethel Ranch 2:45 p.m. Town Hall / Library 11:10 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 2:53 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 9 11:15 a.m. A&P Shopping Center 3:00 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 1 11:25 a.m. Lakeshore Dr. & Upper Greenwood Lake Rd. 3:07 p.m. Ridge Road (Request Only) 11:30 a.m. Clinton Road & Warwick Tpke. 3:18 p.m. Westbrook to Macopin Road (Request only) 11:33 a.m. A&P Shopping Center 3:25 p.m. Hillcrest Community Center 11:37 a.m. Shop Rite Plaza 3:30 p.m. Shop Rite Plaza 11:40 a.m. Lincoln Hill Village (Request Only) 3:33 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 9 11:45 a.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 9 3:40 p.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 1 11:55 a.m. Bald Eagle Commons Building # 1 3:50 p.m. Lincoln Hill Village (Request Only) 11:58 a.m. A&P Shopping Center 3:56 p.m. Shop Rite Plaza 4:02 p.m. Beginning January 1, 2017, all one-way rides will cost $1.00 Bald Eagle Village (Union Valley Rd.) 4:08 p.m. Bethel Ranch 4:13 p.m. If the Township's Bus passes near your home along its route, Shop Rite Plaza 4:18 p.m. please call the Transportation Department at 973-728-2863 A&P Shopping Center 4:23 p.m. to schedule a pickup nearby (under special circumstances). Lakeshore Dr. & Upper Greenwood Lake Rd. 4:28 p.m. Clinton Road & Warwick Tpke. 4:40 p.m. The West Milford Township Bus will operate: Shop Rite Plaza 4:50 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday Bald Eagle Commons #9 - #1 4:55 p.m. Hillcrest Community Center 5:00 p.m.
Erk, Dale will hit the ground running This letter was updated on April 27. I personally thank the township residents for your tremendous show of support for my June 6 primary election candidacy for township...