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Smart Commuter - Issue #15

Headlines

Meadowlink Helps Essex County Job Seekers Get to Work

Employers Welcome at Passaic County’s First 'Transportation to Work' Forum

Service Updates

Meadowlink Offers Bus Tickets for Clients at Paterson Transportation Counseling Center

Carsharing

Passaic County Awards Meadowlink Pilot Carshare Contract

Freebies Galore

Essex County Transit Connections Guide

Hudson County Transit Map


Meadowlink Helps Essex County Job Seekers Get to Work

A recent job fair in East Orange was successful due to the efforts of the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training & Employment, the Job Developers Alliance and Meadowlink.

More than 200 people seeking jobs attended. And about a dozen companies looking for workers also went to the fair, which was held at the Essex County Economic Development Center.

Meadowlink was also there, making sure everyone who got hired for a job would be able to get to work.

Meadowlink showcased its wide-range of free transportation programs and assistance. For example, over 100 bus and train schedules were available at the fair. Meadowlink staff also helped interested workers find carpools and vanpools that matched their needs. The Emergency Ride Home program was offered so that these commuters would never have to worry about being stranded in an emergency. And Meadowlink staffers Kinga Skora and Frank Mongioi offered personal assistance so that commuters could identify their best transportation options.

Meadowlink was contracted by Essex County in early 2002 to design a program that assists the transit-dependent working poor, including the welfare-to-work population, in commuting to jobs throughout the Meadowlands corridor. Meadowlink is implementing the program in partnership with Essex County and New Community Corporation. The effort is federally funded through the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program, administered by Essex County and implemented by Meadowlink.

"Meadowlink's experience in transportation complements our efforts with training and employment so that people have the support they need to obtain and retain jobs," said Jeffry L. Bertrand, Director for the County of Essex Department of Economic Development, Training and Employment.

For more information, call:

Frank Mongioi (973) 247-2435.

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Employers Welcome at Passaic County’s First 'Transportation to Work' Forum

The first Passaic County Transportation to Work Forum will take place at The Brownstone in Paterson on December 9. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Brunch will be served.

Local employers are invited to discuss initiatives, provide perspective on how transportation impacts hiring, and to collaborate on effective solutions.

Congressman William J. Pascrell, Jr., a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will be the keynote speaker. A Paterson native and former mayor, Congressman Pascrell has a track record of supporting transportation programs for the economically disadvantaged. He will discuss current transportation initiatives from the federal and state perspective and develop dialogues through panel discussions aimed at improving transportation linkage between employers and their workforce. The Passaic County Department of Human Services, Division of Family Services oversees Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) transportation initiatives designed to eliminate transportation as a barrier to employment. The department continues to work closely with WFNJ community-based service providers like Meadowlink to maximize Job Access Reverse Commute funding. Meadowlink's efforts have helped create a comprehensive transportation counseling center, shuttle services, driver education and training programs, donated car and maintenance training, and soon, an innovative carshare project. All target the most economically disadvantaged residents of Passaic County.

The plan is to make these Transportation to Work Forums an annual event.

If your organization or company would like to attend, please call:

Frank Mongioi (973) 247-2435.

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Passaic County Awards Meadowlink Pilot Carshare Contract

The County of Passaic recently awarded Meadowlink a contract for a pilot carshare project. The pilot project is the first of a two-phase plan designed to bring sustainable, automobile-based mobility services to the working poor.

This is the first time in the United States that carsharing has been offered as a transportation alternative for low-income, working families.

Carsharing makes available a fleet of vehicles shared by a group of people. The amount of money each person pays depends on how much they use the cars. This way, people can have access to a vehicle without having to own one. Typically, 10-to-12 people can share a single car.

The availability of an automobile determines the quality of life for most New Jersey residents. Members of the Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) program are usually the most vulnerable to transportation breakdowns. Whether it be from dilapidated cars or from public transit bus schedules ill-suited for odd-hour jobs, WFNJ clients are often unable to arrive at work in the timely, consistent manner necessary to be effective employees.

The goal of the pilot carshare program, also called Work First, is to allow participants to work at any job site at any hour without the burden of extraordinary transportation obstacles. Every person who drives to work has to expect the burden of delays due to traffic congestion. So will Work First Carshare clients. But these normal challenges can be overcome.

Without carsharing, transportation barriers are so great that they often lead to job termination. Work First Carshare clients will not have the excuse for failure; rather, they must meet the same challenges to a successful work life as everyone else.

Carsharing is a happy compromise between using public transit and using a private car. It started in Europe more than 10 years ago and has grown there to include over 100,000 participants.

Carsharing Portland, Inc., the first U.S. carsharing program, has been providing this service for people with higher incomes in the Portland (Oregon) Metro region since 1998.

Carsharing is a service offered by organizations that sell efficiency and convenience. It is not a spot-market operation; applicants must first have their driving record reviewed and health condition certified.

Carpooling and vanpooling, referred to as ridesharing, have been around for a long time. People often participate just because they want to be good citizens and reduce highway congestion and pollution.

But carsharing offers the same benefits and greater convenience. Carsharing is completely flexible. Participants can use an available car whenever and however they choose, adjusting usage patterns independently and freely.

"Generally, carsharing works because it's so inexpensive and convenient that participants will want to give up that extra car as well as the parking spot it takes," says Meadowlink Executive Director Krishna Murthy.

A typical charge for carsharing includes a $25 membership fee, $6.50 per hour of use, and 50 cents per mile traveled. That's it. There are no payments for insurance, gas, vehicle maintenance or cleaning.

The public benefit in carsharing is clear. Simply put, it lowers the demand for cars and permanent parking spaces. "But it works as a business," explains Murthy, "because it saves participants a bundle - - the cost of a car over a five-year period."

For more information, call:

Krishna Murthy (201) 939-4242.

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Meadowlink Establishes Shuttle Service for Bank of New York

In the recent months, Meadowlink has been working with the Bank of New York to establish a shuttle route so that The Bank of New York could offer transportation to its' employees who live in and around the New York City area and work in The Bank's facility located in Lodi, New Jersey.

Meadowlink and officials from the Bank of New York worked out the logistics for a comprehensive shuttle program that would cover shifts working around the clock.

The mini-bus shuttle service, which started in November, picks up employees at the Journal Square PATH station in Jersey City and brings them to the BNY Lodi facility.

To accommodate the various work schedules, the shuttle's morning pickup times are at 6:20, 7:20, and 8:20 for the 45-minute trip. Return trips to the PATH station are evenings at 4:00, 5:00, and 6:00. A van service is utilized for late-working employees, bringing them directly to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.

For more information, contact:

Kinga Skora (201) 939-4242.

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Meadowlink Partners with Charitable Emporium.com

Meadowlink has recently become an affiliated charity at the Charitable Emporium, cecharity.com. The Charitable Emporium shopping service brings together charities, donors and vendors in a way that benefits all.

Affiliated charities receive a percentage of Internet purchases made by shoppers who designate them recipients. The more purchases made by shoppers at the emporium, the greater the earning potential for the charity.

Individuals can purchase the same items they would normally purchase while also raising money for their designated charities.

Those who shop the Charitable Emporium also receive a tax-deduction equal to the amount donated. The Charitable Emporium tracks purchases and the tax-deductible contributions. This information is also available to donors through the website.

Merchants and vendors taking part in the Charitable Emporium shopping service get better traffic to their web sites and improved sales because of this additional exposure.

Meadowlink's website, www.meadowlink.org, includes the Charitable Emporium icon. This directs visitors to shop at the emporium so that both Meadowlink and the shopper benefit from each on-line purchase.

For more information, contact:

Krishna Murthy (201) 939-4242.

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Would You Like This Newsletter Via E-mail?

Meadowlink provides all readers the option of receiving future editions of this newsletter, The Smart Commuter, by e-mail. Not only will you receive the newsletter faster, you'll also be helping the environment by saving paper.

The Smart Commuter is a quarterly newsletter that focuses on current commuting issues in our metropolitan region. It is distributed to more than 3,000 business executives and elected officials in Northern New Jersey.

Meadowlink also encourages reader comments, suggestions, or corrections. So, give us a call or send us an e-mail at info@meadowlink.org. And don't forget about our "Freebees" available in every issue for you and your colleagues.

To order our newsletters by email, contact us at: or sign up here.

Of course, all personal information is kept confidential and you can edit or remove your account at any time.

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Meadowlink Offers Bus Tickets for Clients at Paterson Transportation Counseling Center

In January, Meadowlink will offer bus tickets to job interviews and even monthly bus passes to qualified Passaic County residents through its Transportation Counseling Center in Paterson.

The bus passes are offered so that eligible TANF (Temporary Assistance Needy Family) and GA (General Assistance) clients can get to their jobs. These new services would be part of the Work First New Jersey initiative. To qualify, clients would obtain a transportation referral form from their agency or case worker.

Meadowlink will continue to provide counseling in English and Spanish to welfare recipients and dislocated workers.

The One-Stop Transportation Counseling Center has been established in conjunction with the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the county Departments of Planning and Human Services and has been operating for more than a year.

People who are being assisted with job placement by the Passaic County Employment Network (PCEN) can receive individualized transportation counseling at the conveniently located center.

Meadowlink's free services are designed to help unemployed people who don't drive or can't afford a car get to interviews and to their new jobs. Offices are on the third floor of the Workforce Development Center at 52 Church Street in downtown Paterson. No appointment is necessary. Clients can also obtain transportation counseling though a new toll-free hotline, at (888) 447-2435. The bilingual counseling is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Examples of Meadowlink programs and services of interest to welfare-to-work participants include the numerous shuttle services that link county residents with job locations from Wayne to the Meadowlands area, the Emergency Ride Home Program that is available to all clients who are placed in new jobs and begin using public transportation or carpooling to commute to work, and carpooling assistance in the event that no bus or train service is available to a new job location. Meadowlink has access to the statewide rideshare database maintained by the New Jersey Department of Transportation with more than 10,000 names of people seeking to share a ride.

For more information, call:

Sjockier Jackson (973) 247-2435.

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Essex County Transit Connections Guide

Do you need simple but comprehensive information about NJ Transit's services in Essex County? Meadowlink can provide you with the latest user-friendly bubble maps - all on one sheet of paper.

For your free Essex County Transit Connections Guide, call:

Michael Jensen (201) 939-4242.

Hudson County Transit Map

Hudson County has developed a comprehensive transit map that includes information about public transit routes, making it a valuable tool in planning Hudson County commutes.

For a free copy, call:

Michael Jensen (201) 939-4242.

 

Smart Commuter, a quarterly newsletter on commuting issues in our region, is issued to employers by Meadowlink. Call the Editorial Director, Frank T. Mongioi, Jr. at (201) 939-4242 with comments, suggestions or corrections. Assistant Editor: Justin Gelish

MEADOWLINK (Meadowlands Transportation Brokerage Corporation), prepared this newsletter through a grant financed in part by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration.  This newsletter is disseminated under the sponsorship of the NJDOT in the interest of information exchange.  The State of New Jersey assumes no liability for its content or use thereof.

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