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Ocean Ride Program Receives $1.7 Million from State

County's transportation program going strong in its 35th year

Ocean County has received a $1.7 million grant from NJ Transit for its county transportation program, Ocean Ride, the Board of Freeholders announced Wednesday.

The grant, an annual allocation based on the state's casino revenue program and the number of seniors in the county, reflects an 11 percent decrease in funding from the state over the 2012 grant, Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said.

State funding for the program, which has been in existence since 1977, is down about 40 percent since 2009, said Dave Fitzgerald, of the county's transportation department. Fifty percent of the funding, however, comes from the county's taxpayers.

Ocean Ride provides transportation throughout the county in the form of regular bus routes, as well as its direct service "Reserve-A-Ride" program for senior citizens and those with disabilities to medical appointments. It also provides transportation for veterans needing treatment at Veterans Administration clinics and for disabled citizens needing assistance getting to and from employment.

In 2011, Ocean Ride recorded 349,463 passenger trips and covered 1.3 million miles of travel, Little said. That is despite a consolidation of routes from 17 to 12, and a reduction in the number of drivers, from 77 to 67.

"There have been no layoffs," Little said. "We just haven't filled openings as people retired."

"We are continuing to provide core services," he said.

To make up some of the lost funding, the county instituted fares to use the system. Senior citizens and those with disabilities pay 50 cents per trip, while the general public pays $1.50.

Some towns receive limited service -- Barnegat, for example, has a Friday "Shoppers Loop" route that provides transportation to Genuardi's, Bay Shore Plaza, the post office, the Barnegat branch of the county library, and to ShopRite in Waretown, primarily for seniors and those with disabilities -- but there are several routes that run five days a week and provide access to important services at county offices in Toms River.

Information on using Ocean Ride and the system's bus routes can be accessed through the county's website, here. A brochure on the system is attached to this story. Maps of the county's routes are available as PDFs on the county's Route Information page. Click on the colored boxes on that page to access the PDFs.

skizma July 18, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Ocean Ride is a god send for people who cannot drive and have no other way to get to doctor appointments and tests etc. It is sooo vital and important. My mother made use of this service for the times I was unable to help out, which were few thank god. She wanted to get there without working around my schedule and be independent to some extent. This is a GREAT service and the seniors SHOULD be taken care of. They have put their time into our society and we are responsible for taking care of them in return. It's not the answer for everything, but it is such a help.....
Mark Story Jenks July 19, 2012 at 06:46 PM
skizma, I'm with you on that. It would be a good idea for anyone interested in OceanRide to visit the website http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/Transportation/ and learn more about it. I am fortunate to still be somewhat ambulatory, and so I mostly rely on the "fixed" routes. The Brick Link, for example, travels back and forth between Point Pleasant Train Station and Lakewood Bus Station a couple times in the morning and afternoon each weekday. Lucikly for me it loops through Herbertsville on its way. It enters no shopping centers, but will stop along the highway (where safety permits) to let riders on and off. It is available to anyone for a very reasonable fare.
Rem July 20, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I really do not know where you lived before and how you traveled but ocean ride is no joke to people who need it and utilize it in our area. You can get a ride from numerous stops on rt 37 and other locations and also to the bus station downtown so you can get a bus to anywhere. We are not as populated as the city but we are on the road to help people without transportation or handicapped get to where they have to go at a very reasonable price.
Michelle Jones March 25, 2013 at 09:50 PM
Almost all the Ocean Ride buses I see are 90% EMPTY . They even made the windows darker so we cannot see how few passengers there are. The reserve a ride makes sense BUT use small vans - sell the buses, and eliminate a lot of positions, including the director.
leah palmer-lee April 29, 2013 at 01:57 AM
and if u have to take a child on the bus they can only get on there if they r going to the doctors and there is nothing for u if that child needs to go with u for your doctor or anything else

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