The hearing was held a month after an 8-month-old North Bergen resident, Angelie Paredes, was killed on Boulevard East in West New York when a jitney driver, allegedly using his cell phone, hit a street pole, which struck the child.
Since then, various elected officials, including U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D – NJ) and Representative Albio Sires (D – 8th Dist.) have called for federal legislation regulating jitneys, and state legislators have introduced bills into the state Senate and the Assembly that would hold jitneys to stricter standards.
The hearing on Monday was called to hear testimony on an Assembly bill that would demand that jitneys adhere to stricter insurance guidelines and more licensing regulations. A similar bill has been introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Nicholas Sacco, who is also the mayor of North Bergen.
“The business practice … is why we see the Wild West, goosechases to pick up fares throughout the day every day, [and] why we see the drag race atmosphere on Bergenline Avenue, Boulevard East, Summit Avenue and Palisades Avenue and taking place throughout our roads in Hudson County,’’ Ramos said, according to a report on NJ.com. “This has to be addressed."
According to NJ.com, the jitneys are subject to biannual inspections, but limited insurance, more similar to taxi regulations than those of commuter buses. – Dean DeChiaro