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PHILLIPSBURG, NJ - June 27, 2001: Warren County residents will be able to take public transportation between Phillipsburg and Hackettstown using the new Route 57 Shuttle program launched today. The Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Warren County Department of Human Services and the Warren County Transportation Advisory Council joined with New Jersey Transit in cutting the ribbon for the shuttle service that begins operation on Monday, July 2. The ceremony took place at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg, which is on the shuttle route.

The Route 57 Shuttle program consists of three buses circulating on two routes every Monday through Friday except major holidays. Two buses will circulate on the Phillipsburg - Washington Shuttle route, starting in Phillipsburg at 7 a.m. and Washington at 8 a.m., while one bus will start on the Hackettstown - Washington route at 8 a.m. Service on the Hackettstown - Washington route ends at 2:55 p.m. and on the Phillipsburg - Washington route at 4:45 p.m.

"County residents now have the option to travel to various employment opportunities, educational sites and shopping centers using mass transit rather than relying on a personal auto," said Warren County Freeholder Director John DiMaio.

"Greater reliance on mass transit will conserve fuel usage, which will help protect our environment," DiMaio added.

"The Route 57 Shuttle program will provide an important service to county residents and businesses, and one that is being created through a partnership with the state and federal governments to provide needed funding," said Freeholder Michael Doherty.

"It's great because it enhances employment opportunities" for Warren County residents, Freeholder James DeBosh said. "It gives people greater access to Warren County Community College as well," DeBosh added.

Moreover, people who wish to go shopping will be able to use the service, Freeholder Director DiMaio said. "With the closing of Laneco and Food Lane, the Shuttle will provide service to area supermarkets along the route," DiMaio said.

DiMaio noted that bus service along Route 57 has been identified as a need in Warren County for at least 20 years.

In 1998, the Federal Transit Administration made available a new funding source known as Job Access and Reverse Commute. The Warren County Department of Human Services, along with the county Transportation Advisory Council and the county's paratransit provider, ACT/intelitran, submitted an application to develop and implement a Route 57 Shuttle Program the following year, DiMaio explained.

"On behalf of NJ Transit Executive Director Jeffrey Warsh, I am happy to represent NJ Transit today at this kick-off ceremony," said the transit agency's Bob Koska, Director, Local Programs, Office of Service Contracts.

"Today's new service reflects the hard work of many individuals in the County. I look forward to riding the service later today and its success in the days ahead," Koska said.

"This new service along Route 57 will serve the county's major corridor of economic development," Koska said. The two routes "have been designed to target clusters of low- and moderate-income households, and will connect to the growing number of employment opportunities in the county," he said.

Koska noted, "This service was developed through a unique and strong partnership between the Department of Transportation, Human Services, Labor and NJ Transit at the state level, as well as coordination and partnership between various Warren County departments including Human Services, Economic Development and Planning; municipalities; and various contracting agencies."

Koska explained that over the last several years, Warren County has undertaken a comprehensive transportation planning process that identified transit needs. This effort was in response to the Governor's WORKFIRST initiative, he said.

"They then took the lead in applying for funding made available through a unique collaboration of Federal Transit Administration, NJ Department of Labor, NJ Department of Human Services, NJDOT and NJ Transit," Koska said.

Stops along the routes include Warren Hospital, Marshall Street (behind Food Lane), and the intersection of South Main and Sitgreaves Streets, all in Phillipsburg; Wal-Mart in Pohatcong; Warren County Community College, Shop Rite of Washington, Abilities of Northwest Jersey Inc., Route 57 and Lincoln Street, and the junction of Routes 57 and 31 in the Washington area; Shop Rite of Mansfield; and the Hackettstown Mall. Passengers may flag down a shuttle bus at any time; the driver will stop at any safe location along the route. The Route 57 Shuttle program is actively seeking other employers in the Route 57 corridor that wish to be part of the route or to advertise on the buses.

Donations in lieu of a fare are being accepted until a fare system is implemented in the near future. The projected fare per trip is $1 for the general public and 50 cents for elderly and/or disabled riders. Passengers will be required to have exact fare when boarding these buses, as the drivers do not carry money and cannot make change. Passengers wishing to transfer between the Phillipsburg - Washington and Hackettstown - Washington routes will be issued free transfer papers on request.

For more information on this program, please call ATC/intelitran at (908) 454-4044 or Warren County Transportation Coordinator JanMarie McDyer at (908) 475-6332.

Assemblyman Leonard Lance and NJ Transit's Robert Koska join Warren County Freeholder Director John DiMaio as he cuts the ribbon to officially launch the new Route 57 Shuttle program.

(Left to right) Freeholder Director John DiMaio, Washington Borough Mayor Mark Bond, Assemblyman Leonard Lance, Freeholder James DeBosh and Phillipsburg Mayor Harry Wyant, Jr. join in the kick-off celebration for the new Route 57 Shuttle program. Phillipsburg and Washington are among the communities served by the shuttle system.

The first trip on the new Route 57 Shuttle.

One of the three buses to be used on the Phillipsburg - Washington and Hackettstown - Washington routes of the Route 57 Shuttle is parked at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg during the kick-off ceremony for the new service.

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