Chiaravalloti bill giving local gov’t oversight of jitney buses advances in Assembly

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A bill introduced by Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) last month that would give municipalities the ability regulate jitney buses has moved one step closer to becoming law. JFK speed sign

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.”

Chiaravalloti’s introduction of the measure came after the recent death of George Gonzalez, an 11-year-old Jersey City boy who was fatally struck by a jitney bus at an intersection.

The bill (A-4323) calls for local approval of privately-owned, low-cost commuter shuttle buses that operate on public roads in New Jersey, colloquially 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.

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee today.

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