New bus service on base

6 Nov 2007 | Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Hermesman

 Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and the City of Jacksonville will offer public transportation service to civilians, Marines and dependants starting Nov. 1.

 Base access, however is restricted to Department of Defense identification card holders.

 The overall goal of the Jacksonville Transit System is to provide civilians, service members and their dependants transportation within city limits, including transportation from Camp Lejeune, Camp Johnson and Camp Geiger, said Glenn Hargett, a representative for the project and the City of Jacksonville.

 "Camp Lejeune is a big part of the community," said Col. Adele E. Hodges, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. "We needed better access to our community and Jacksonville Transit will provide just that. I want to make sure that the servicemembers have access to everything that Jacksonville and the local community has to offer. I am delighted that the system is here."

 The City Council specifically wanted to serve the Marines, said Hargett. Several years ago, Camp Lejeune officials asked that the routing include the base and base housing.

 Some experiments early in the process were not very successful, but work has continued and now there is routing to include base housing, he continued. The city is also open to requests for service to other areas from military officials and families.

 All of the busses will be owned and operated by private contractors, and in order to operate on base the contractors will have to be in compliance with all base vehicle rules and regulations, such as valid inspections, insurance and registrations.

 Making the transportation safe is a top priority, but also important – is ease of use and cost; addressing this, base leaders have approved the sale of tickets on base with locations to be determined closer to the start of service and fares will be sold to service members at a reduced rate.

 “Most of the people living on base are citizens of Jacksonville and these new transit changes will help them get in and around base as well as out into the Jacksonville area,” said Kristoff Bauer, manager for The City of Jacksonville. “This also will help break down barriers to encourage commerce between Camp Lejeune and the City of Jacksonville while helping the base keep up security.”

 Schedules will be set to rotate busses out to Camp Lejeune and Camp Johnson every 30 minutes and Camp Geiger every hour.

 Some of the routing was modified at the request of some family readiness input, said Hargett. As for the evening service, providing a service that will be of benefit mainly to single Marines also fulfills the mission of serving our heroes.

 “What we start with today is likely to be very different from where we find Jacksonville Transit next year, and I’m confident the routes will morph and change into what the consumer wants as we go along,” concluded Hargett.

 For More information about the new service or the Jacksonville and surround area’s bus system contact 910-938-RIDE (7433).

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