NAPLES, Fla - Naples newest shuttle service hit a road block with city leaders. The Jump on Express or J.O.E. Launched in December, offering free rides between Mercato, Fifth Avenue and Third Street.
But, the Naples City Council halted use of public stops, causing a hiccup in service. Right now, the Jump on Express stop is at a dark private parking lot, two blocks off the main street.
J.O.E founder Shannon Livingston says it causes confusion and takes away from what the J.O.E. Is all about.
Madaline Powers is a loyal rider of the Jump on Express. "This is my fourth time as a matter of fact. We were having dinner and I said hurry up, lets get us on the bus."
Madaline and her family hopped on at the Mercato stop, but rather than getting off on Fifth Avenue, they waited until they reached Third Street.
"The stop off of Fifth is definitely a problem," says Livingston. Ridership has been low since the J.O.E. launched and owners say the reason is because of the change in stops."
"I sit at the stop on Fifth and I see people sit on the bus and don't get off," says Livingston.
The Jump on Express hired Dolphin Transportation, a company with a long standing franchise agreement with the city. They believed that contract included the J.O.E.
"The owner of Dolphin Transportation and I met with city officials for months before the launch," says Livingston.
But city leaders say they didn't get appropriate approval and therefore they can't run their shuttle on city streets.
"They were changing the routes and they were changing the stop locations so something had to be amended," says City Manager Bill Moss.
City Council members also raised concerns about hours and the shuttle route. "We had one member who didn't want the bus on public streets and another member that didn't want the bus on residential streets. We're trying to make everyone happy, but it's just not possible," says Livingston.
Livingston is hoping the two sides can come to a compromise on Wednesday, when she presents changes to the city council or the J.O.E. could be permanently in park.
"They're going to have to persuade council this good for the community, this is good for the city, it's good for the operation," says Moss.
Local businesses are picking up the tab of the service in the hopes the J.O.E. will bring more foot traffic in.
The change by city council does not affect the Mercato stop next to Bravo. Trust WINK News to let you know what the council decides on Wednesday.
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