Annual Transit Hearing
Skylands Ride users say bus service should be expanded
and praise Connect and New Freedom Services
Sussex County residents who don’t drive and their advocates filled the Sussex County Freeholder Meeting Room on June 12, 2012, to share their need for public transportation provided by Skylands Ride, the County’s public transit system.
There are numerous residents who depend on Skylands Ride to be able to get to life saving medical appointments such as dialysis and cancer treatments. Many residents use the transportation services to access the hospital. Cindy Everitt, Executive Director of Advance Housing, spoke of her clients’ needs for medical services and how they rely on the County system to get them to the doctors and other community services. Ms. Everitt’s message was echoed by all those who spoke at the Hearing that Skylands Ride is a lifeline for those who use it, and Sussex County needs more transportation.
Skylands Ride is a key factor in helping residents who do not drive gain employment. Jessica Southard, a staff person at Project Self Sufficiency, estimated that 40 to 50 of their clients use Skylands Ride daily to access day care and employment services at Project Self Sufficiency.
Several people expressed their delight with the addition of the New Freedom run to the Netcong Train Station. This run has shattered barriers to expand employment opportunities for residents and enhance transportation options to all who wish to travel to and from the County.
Over 9,000 residents are currently registered riders in the transit system. This statistic does not include the many residents who use the public transit system. Skylands Ride provided 106,321 rides during 2011. Skylands Ride plans to continue the Connect public service, which now goes to the YMCA and Carlton Village.
It is the goal of Sussex County Skylands Ride to continue to increase ridership through the maintenance of a dynamic transit system to meet the transportation needs of Sussex County residents, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities through the careful use of resources and efficient scheduling to minimize down times, wait times, and empty seats.