Access to transit is a major selling point for real estate developments. In Hoboken, New Jersey, a growing number of residential developments offer private shuttle bus service to the city’s major transit hub, Hoboken Terminal. While these shuttles can streamline trips with luggage or strollers, keep people dry during rainstorms, and warm in winter, they also contribute to congestion on Hoboken’s Streets, aren’t open to everyone, and draw people away who might otherwise ride The Hop, Hoboken’s municipal shuttle bus service. NJ.com reported that 2015 expenses for the Hop totaled $332,000, with a fare box recovery of $74,335, or 22%. That’s dismally low for a city in which 57.6% of residents use public transit, the highest percentage in the country.
Hoboken could make the Hop into an indispensable, hyperlocal transit backbone with expanded service, and an iconic fleet.
With such a high rate of public transit use to and from the city, Hoboken has an opportunity to turn The Hop into a case study for microtransit, a new transit service model outlined by the nonprofit transportation policy thinktank Eno Center for Transportation in its study UpRouted: Exploring Microtransit in the United States. Eno studied how cities are adapting hyperlocal transit services that bridge the ‘last-mile’ between traditional, fixed-route rail and bus service, and people’s trip destinations in the age of Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand ridesharing services.
For a mile-square city like Hoboken, reimagined Hop service that is more frequent, reaches the residential developments that currently run private shuttles, and has extended operating hours beyond the current 7AM-8PM service could get real estate developments out of the business of running overlapping, redundant transit services, cut congestion on the city’s streets, and provide significant benefits to both the general public and the residents of these developments. Continues…