In light of 11-year-old Jersey City student George Gonzalez being killed by a jitney bus earlier this month, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti has introduced legislation that would give local municipalities the ability to regulate jitney buses.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Local governments know their roads, and they know which jitney lines are causing chaos on their roads. Unfortunately, however, they don’t have the power to change the conditions they know endanger the people they have a duty to protect,” Chiaravalloti said in a statement.
“Jitney services are an integral part of the North Jersey transportation network. As is the case with every other transportation service that commuters rely on, our state must act to ensure that jitneys operate in a manner that keeps jitney drivers and passengers, pedestrians and other motorists safe.”
The bill (A-4323) calls for the regulation of privately-owned, low-cost commuter shuttle buses that operate on public roads in New Jersey, most commonly referred to as “jitney buses.”
Under the legislation, owners of the vehicles would be required to register the buses with each municipality in which they wish to operate and receive approval to conduct business from each municipality’s governing board.
A violation of the bill’s provisions would carry a civil penalty of $1,000 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation and $5,000 for a third or subsequent violation.
The bill would augment accountability measures enacted in 2014 under Angelie’s Law, legislation named after 8-month-old Angelie Paredes, who in 2013 was killed by a lamppost struck by a jitney driver who was using his cell phone.
Just two days after Gonzalez’s untimely death, new community activist group Safe Streets JC held a walk calling on local and county officials to do a better job of regulating dangerous roadways such as John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
After the walk concluded, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said meetings with state and federal officials regarding jitney bus regulations were forthcoming.