The South Jersey Transportation Authority established a department to oversee parking and to provide shuttle service for people otherwise unable to travel to where employment is available. The Authority opened its Transportation Services Division in January 2004, modeled on a successful program in Camden County, which the new division absorbed.
In 2005, Transportation Services was merged with parking operations to upgrade services at Atlantic City International Airport, which for the second straight year served more than 1 million passengers. A challenge to attracting new air carriers has been parking deficiencies at ACY, among them lack of shuttle service to the terminal. The SJTA assumed direct responsibility for parking operations as of April 1, 2005, and immediately through the Transportation Services Division instituted continuous shuttle service for the first time.
The first month demonstrated how much these enhanced services were needed. SJTA shuttles carried 5,062 travelers through April 30. Moreover, parking complaints went from 120 in January to three in April, the first month of direct SJTA operation.
Transportation Services, meanwhile, is expanding its initial mission, helping inner city workers make the commute to U.S. Vision located in suburban Blackwood. Now equipped with 20 buses that can carry 21 passengers each and are accessible to special-needs passengers -- Transportation Services runs routes to employers in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties, plus UPS in Philadelphia. In 2004 it added "The Breeze," a service to carry visitors from SJTA-owned and operated parking lots to Atlantic City's new retail-entertainment venue, The Walk. That initiative began by carrying only 118 passengers in July, its start-up month. By late fall, volume reached 4,213.
Transportation Services' annual passenger volume reflects its growing mission - 113,974 passengers in 2004, nearly doubling the 64,341 recorded in 2003. Further expansion of these services is in the works for 2005, raising anticipated passenger volume by 15 to 20 percent. Among them is a route from the Pleasantville Transportation Center to Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township. Not only do these services open opportunities to people who might otherwise find them closed, but it also reduces congestion by giving others an alternative to driving their own vehicles.