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The communities of South Orange and Maplewood (SOMA), NJ, are culturally-rich commuter havens in the heart of northern New Jersey. With highly-rated schools, bustling downtowns, a plethora of restaurants, and an enviable commute into New York City, SOMA is a highly sought-after location to live, and homes that go on the market move quickly. Located along the Midtown Direct train line, SOMA has another lesser-known perk — a jitney bus service that transports residents to the local train station where they can hop the train into New York Penn Station or Hoboken.
With convenient stops dotted throughout the towns, the jitney is convenient, environmentally friendly, and a partial solution to limited station parking. Many potential SOMA homebuyers that commute into the City even evaluate their housing options based on a home’s proximity to the jitney stops.
If you’re thinking of moving to South Orange or Maplewood, here are a few things to know about the SOMA jitney.
The South Orange Jitney
Dating back two decades, the South Orange jitney began with a single route and two buses. The service grew to four routes and seven buses, and after a few service reductions during COVID, is now organized around two main routes that run on weekdays in the mornings and evenings:
• Newstead/Wyoming, and
• Montague/Ward/Tuxedo Park/Montrose
Flexible and convenient, the South Orange jitney will sometimes add a 5-minute wait onto its scheduled times should the Midtown Direct trains run late. For town residents, a jitney pass is $300/annum, and for non-residents, it is $450/annum.
South Orange’s early designation as a “Transit Village” helped fund the original jitney. Today, the town is perhaps better known for its many shops, restaurants, the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), and Floods Hill.
General information, schedules, and fees for the South Orange jitney can be found on the township website.
The Maplewood Jitney
With morning and afternoon routes, the Maplewood jitney runs from Monday through Friday, shuttling residents to the Maplewood train station. A combination Jitney/Parking decal fee is $300/annum. For a jitney pass without parking, the fee is $62.50/annum, or residents can pay $2.00 per ride.
The three primary routes for the Maplewood jitney are:
• Maplecrest and Hilton jitney
• Elmwood and Parker jitney
• Wyoming jitney
Some challenges remain for the jitney service due to the pandemic, and ridership has not recovered to pre-COVID levels.
Flexible and convenient, jitneys are a great reason to consider living in SOMA
Jitneys invariably help the local economies of the towns they serve by fulfilling unmet transportation needs. Their flexibility allows them to expand or contract services as needed, and jitneys are relatively inexpensive to operate. As evidenced during the ups and downs of COVID ridership, jitney routes can be redrawn and redeployed quickly. As important, jitneys do not prevent more permanent transportation infrastructure from being put in place as a community’s transit needs grow. They make public transportation more accessible for residents and lessen vehicular traffic during peak commuting times.
If you have questions about commuting, SOMA, or are looking to buy or sell a home in Maplewood, South Orange, or any of our northern New Jersey communities, I would love to assist you. A member of my team would be delighted to take you on a town tour. Contact Victoria Carter at (973) 220-3050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.