By MADDY VITALE
Visitors to Ocean City definitely took advantage of a newer amenity in town – the summer jitney service – which for the past two years has provided riders a convenient and inexpensive way to head up to the Boardwalk.
For a fare of just $2, jitneys gave riders a way to enjoy the boards without the hassles or worries about finding parking. From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily, the lime green jitneys did a continuous loop along a designated route.
Ridership was nearly 15,000 passengers – 14,735 daily riders to be exact – this past summer, up from 12,000 riders in its pilot year in 2022, according to figures provided by the city on Tuesday.
Mayor Jay Gillian said that the jitney service will be returning for the summer of 2024.
“It’s been a successful program and I think it is relieving parking. We have had nearly 15,000 in ridership,” Gillian said. “People talk about parking. I think the jitneys give a way to get around when people can leave their cars at home. It’s just another amenity added to the ones we already have.”
The majority of riders were tourists, families, teens and seasonal Boardwalk employees using the service to commute to and from work, officials said of the past two years. Jitney fare is $2 one way, payable by cash. Drivers can provide change. There is no charge for children age 5 and under to ride the jitney, which runs in a continuous loop from 55th Street to Battersea Road.
In 2023, there were 78 days of jitney service. There was an average of 188 riders each day. The days that there were the most jitney riders were July 3 with 570 riders, July 4 with 550 riders and on Sept. 2 with 560 riders, according to city officials.
Ocean City launched jitney service in the summer of 2022 in partnership with the Atlantic City Jitney Association under a pilot program to see whether shuttle service to the Boardwalk and downtown business district would be popular with residents and visitors.
In December of 2022, City Council approved a $67,825 contract with the Atlantic City Jitney Association to operate the shuttle service for the second summer in a row. The ACJA was the only bidder for the contract.
The downtown service was eliminated for the summer of 2023 because the numbers showed it was not nearly as popular a route as the service to the Boardwalk.
In 2019, an economic development study that recommended more public transportation in Ocean City prompted the city’s desire to offer the jitney service.
For more information, visit oceancityvacation.com/about-the-island/jitney-service