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Wisniewski: Is the Convenience Worth the Risk?

Assembly Transportation Chair Holds Hearing to Examine Gaps in State Regs that May Have Led to Jitney Death of Infant in West New York

(HOBOKEN) – Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Monday after his committee heard lengthy testimony on the operation, regulation and safety of jitney service in light of the tragic death of an infant in West New York two months ago:

“The significant reason for holding this hearing off site today is because we wanted to be up in Hudson County, the sight of the tragic accident where a young child lost her life, which, in my opinion was, to some degree, a result of the inadequate regulations in place for jitney service.
“I’m very frustrated because we discussed this issue at length in the past and we did pass laws that we thought would address concerns. We had a hearing in Perth Amboy on this very topic some years back and we did manage to get some legislation passed that we thought would address the issue, but clearly it’s not enough.
“I’m also mindful that people have testified that these jitneys provide a valuable service, especially for some who might not have other transportation options. But we must ask ourselves: Is the convenience worth the risk?
“The tragedy that brought us here today claimed the life of somebody who wasn’t even a passenger. They didn’t volunteer to get on a jitney. It was somebody on the street. That means every single one of us is at risk – our friends, our family. It’s our job to look at these situations to find out what went wrong with our regulatory scheme. Where are the gaps? How can we strengthen our regulations? We have to make sure jitney providers are meeting the same requirements as other transportation providers in the state.”