It has been years since Brick Township owned a fleet of buses used to transport its senior residents, however after debating the prospect for several years, new buses will be put into service next week.
The Brick Township Senior Shuttle will begin service on June 24 and will provide free transportation to the senior center, shopping and more, township officials said this week. The service will be available to residents aged 60 and over.
Brick recently acquired two wheelchair-accessible buses for the program. The township received one bus through a Federal Transit Administration grant administered by NJ Transit. The township applied for the grant in 2015 and was notified last year that the request was granted. The bus was delivered earlier this year. The second bus was purchased by the township through funds included in the 2015 and 2018 capital budgets. The purchase price was $83,986.
“Nearly one in four Brick Township residents is over the age of 60 and many of those residents do not have adequate access to transportation,” said Mayor John Ducey. “The Senior Shuttle will help those residents by giving them access to transportation to shopping, services and more. It is our expectation that this service will be well-utilized by our residents.”
Brick previously maintained a small fleet of converted school buses that shuttled senior residents to shopping centers and other locations, however the service ended as the buses reached the end of their service life. The township then began providing transportation through a partnership with the school district using current school buses. Councilman Jim Fozman said recently that he first proposed the acquisition several years ago.
The Senior Shuttle will offer transportation to and from the Senior Center and nutrition program on every weekday. It will offer transportation to shopping areas (Walmart, ShopRite, Stop and Shop, the Dollar Store) Monday through Thursday.
On the last Friday of every month, the Senior Shuttle will bring residents to and from the Ocean County Mall. On remaining Fridays, the shuttles will be used to transport seniors to local areas of interest including parks, boardwalks and more.
“It is our ultimate goal to address the transportation needs of our elderly to provide access to food shopping, our nutrition program and our senior center,” said Zulma Soto, Director of Senior Outreach Services. “In addition we will be using the Senior Shuttle to bring older residents to places of interest every available Friday. There are so many great places in our community and Ocean County and the Shuttles offer us the ability to help residents enjoy them.”
Soto will oversee the Senior Shuttle program.
The service is available to all residents ages 60 and over. Anyone wishing to utilize the Senior Shuttle should call Senior Outreach Services at 732-920-8686 to complete a brief registration. Advance notice to request a ride is needed. Residents will be scheduled on a first come first serve basis.