New jitney service likely for Stone Harbor and Avalon

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STONE HARBOR – Years ago, only one trolley operated in Stone Harbor and Avalon, meaning there was often a long wait for a ride.

This summer, six to eight jitneys are expected to run between the two towns on a given night. The vehicles run on compressed natural gas.

Passengers will be able to ride for as little as $2.

The buses, operated through Atlantic City Jitney Service Avalon, will be out into service beginning Memorial Day weekend and will run in the weekends until July. Then they will be operated every day.

The idea for the jitneys came from Sea Isle City, which started using jitneys last summer.

Over the years, people have asked about transportation between Stone Harbor and Avalon when visiting the Stone Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said Jean Miersh, who is the office coordinator the chamber.

“That’s been something we’ve been missing,” she said.

The service will run from 96th Street in Stone Harbor to 20th Street in Avalon, Miersh said.

She said she expects the service to rapidly expand.

Visitors enjoy shops and restaurants in both communities, Miersh said. She has supported the jitney idea for about a year, she said.

Tom Hand, owner of Fred’s Tavern in Stone Harbor, remembers when the trolley would run on Seven Mile Island. People would have to wait a long time to use the transportation, he indicated.

That’ll not be the case with the jitneys, he said.

Hand said the plan for the jitneys couldn’t be tackled last summer because ordinances had to be redone.

Avalon Borough Council approved the jitney ordinance Jan. 23 and Stone Harbor Borough Council is expected to do the same Tuesday, Feb. 19. That meeting is open to the public and starts at 4:30 p.m. at Borough Hall, 9508 Second Ave. in Stone Harbor.

Hand said efforts to have “something more consistent” than the trolley had been on the drawing board during the last several years.

The jitneys will benefit businesses, including bars and the movie theater, Hand said.

“I think it’s going to be good for everyone,” he said.

The jitney service will kick off Memorial Day weekend starting at 6 p.m. and will cost $2 until 11 p.m. when it goes up to $4.

“We’re excited about it,” said Scott Wahl, who is the public information officer for both Avalon and Stone Harbor.

Hand said he hopes Avalon and Stone Harbor will have more shared services.

Avalon Chamber of Commerce President John O’Dea did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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