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Ridgewood To Open Bids On Ride Service For Train Commuters

Mayor Susan Knudsen and Deputy Mayor Michael Sedon at Ridgewood's Village Council meeting Wednesday.
Mayor Susan Knudsen and Deputy Mayor Michael Sedon at Ridgewood's Village Council meeting Wednesday. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — The Ridgewood Council inched closer Wednesday night to starting a ride service pilot program that would give village train commuters a lift to and from their homes.

It unanimously agreed in a resolution to contact rider service providers, including Uber.

Each company is to submit a proposal, which will be considered through a formal bid process.

The resolution states a contract will be awarded to a company “with a proposal that is most advantageous to the village.”

Parking for commuters has long been a village issue: there are only 105 parking spaces at the station.

The contract for E&K Village Taxi service, located at the train station, expires the end of this month.

No one has responded to the village's request for proposals to replace E&K, according to Deputy Mayor Michael Sedon.

Two weeks ago, two Uber executives proposed a pilot program with 50 village residents who would pay a flat rate that would only be recognized 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“Essentially, it’s building a virtual garage,” Councilman Ramon Hache said last month.

Under the Uber plan, Ridgewood’s role would be to pay the difference between the flat fare and the actual fare, said Lily Sassoon, the company’s driver operations and logistics manager in New Jersey.

Cost estimates for the village, according to Sassoon, are based on an average fare of $7 and the assumption a commuter will use Uber a few times a week.

If commuters pay a $4 flat rate as their share, Ridgewood would pay $3,700 for a one-month pilot or $22,000 for a six-month pilot.

If commuters pay a higher $5 flat rate, the village’s share goes down accordingly: $2,500 for a one-month pilot and $15,000 for six months.

Uber now is running a pilot program for 100 commuters in Summit, which is dealing with a similar situation.

Mayor Susan Knudsen envisions a lottery to choose participants for the pilot.

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