Atlantic City tests battery powered jitneys on boardwalk

Watch the report from Action News' Nora Muchanic
April 22, 2014 2:44:48 PM PDT
Rolling chairs have been a part of the scene on the Atlantic City boardwalk since the 1800s. Now there's a new kid in town - a 14 passenger, battery-powered vehicle, that looks similar to a long golf cart, now being tested by the Jitney Association.

"Start small, let's see where it takes us on the boardwalk. Let's see the acceptance of the public, see if we have the right price point," said Tom Woodruff, Atlantic City Jitney Association president.

Rides on the boardwalk jitney are free this week. Beginning Saturday it'll cost $3 per person to ride between Revel and Chelsea Ave near the Tropicana. A rolling chair ride starts at $5.

"Eventually there'll be trams and no rolling chairs, how you gonna compete with $3 and $5?" said Jack Taimanglo, Ocean Rolling Chairs.

Rolling chair companies have gone to court to try to stop the boardwalk jitneys, raising concerns about safety, congestion and job security for the roughly 300 people who push the rolling chairs.

"The jobs are the biggest concern because they're gonna be taking money away from the chair pushers," said Taimanglo.

"We've got to look at how many rolling chairs make sense so the maximum amount of people are gonna be able to make a living and whether or not it's time to consider the boardwalk jitney as an alternative means of transportation," said Mayor Don Guardian.

If you ask the people who went along for test rides the answer is yes.

"It's different than the rolling chair, it's nice and new, bringing newness to the boardwalk," said Samantha Victor.

"There's more room, it's cleaner and it's just better in all aspects," said Jenny Ginsberg.

"Me and my family, we could all be together and you have these beautiful views," said John Lasky.

If the trial goes well and council gives final approval to the idea the boardwalk jitneys would begin rolling regularly in the summer.


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