Wildwood to bid out contract for paid rides to the water's edge

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File photo by Christie Rotondo/Last summer, Jim Kenny of the Wildwood Beach Patrol was one of the members who drove those with disabilities to the water’s edge. File photo by Christie Rotondo/Last summer, Jim Kenny of the Wildwood Beach Patrol was one of the members who drove those with disabilities to the water’s edge. WILDWOOD--To a family lugging beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers and kids, trekking Wildwood’s huge beach can be daunting.

On Wednesday, Wildwood commissioners passed a resolution that could make the long walk easier, for a fee.

 The Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to accept bids for a beach shuttle service during the regular meeting March 12. According to the resolution, Wildwood is looking to enter into a concession contract with a private vendor, which would provide lifts to the shoreline for a fee.

Commissioner Pete Byron, who oversees the city’s beach activities, said that this is one of several amenities Wildwood wants to offer, in an effort to make the beaches more inviting and unique, as well as to increase revenue.

Wildwood’s Beach Patrol offered a similar free service last summer, but only transported those with physical limitations who couldn’t make the walk from the boardwalk to the water’s edge. Beach Patrol Chief Steven Socks said that last summer, about 2,000 people were transported for free by the beach patrol.

Commissioner Tony Leonetti, who oversees the city’s public safety department, said that the beach patrol would continue the service if Wildwood didn’t enter into a contract.

“Some days, they are non-stop,” Leonetti said of those on the beach patrol who handled the service last year. “If we don’t find a bid that we agree with, we will continue.”

If the city does enter into a contract with a private vendor and offers the service to everyone, officials agreed that the beach patrol would no longer offer rides to those with disabilities or who use a wheelchair.

“To the person who is doing this service, I’m sure they would want the ability to transport those people,” Mayor Ernie Troiano said during Wednesday’s meeting. “Two-thousand people could be a significant portion of the transport costs.”

He suggested, however, that the vendor should charge a discounted fee to those individuals.

Byron said that the city did not specify how much should be charged for a lift in its bid specifications. He did say that the city had looked into handling the paid service in-house, but found the operating costs to be too expensive.

“The cost for the equipment is so expensive, and you can only charge so much for a trip,” he said.

Bids are due to City Hall, at 4400 New Jersey Ave. by 4 p.m. April 9.

 


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