Princeton HealthCare System to Launch Free Transportation Service to Replace 655 Bus

The 655 bus  will stop running between Princeton and Plainsboro as of Sept. 1.
The 655 bus will stop running between Princeton and Plainsboro as of Sept. 1.

As New Jersey Transit prepares to discontinue the 655 bus from Princeton to Plainsboro on Sept. 1, Princeton HealthCare System officials have announced that the hospital will provide on-demand taxi service to the Plainsboro campus for patients who live within a half mile of the former hospital on Witherspoon Street in downtown Princeton who have no other means of transportation.

The new service will be available beginning Monday, Aug. 24.

“Princeton HealthCare System is committed to ensuring that all patients have access to the care they need,” said Barry Rabner, President and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System.

“During the certificate of need process for the new hospital, we made a commitment to provide access to patients who walked to the former hospital and had no other means of transportation,” Rabner said. “We are continuing to fulfill that commitment by establishing this on-demand taxi service. We will work with the Princeton Health Department and the Princeton Human Services Commission to create awareness among our patients and the community.”

Since May 2012, Princeton HealthCare has spent approximately $225,000 on transportation, including a $65,000-a-year subsidy for the 655 bus as well as services for individuals who qualify for RideProvide and Princeton Crosstown, according to hospital officials. The the hospital offered to continue its annual subsidy of the bus route, but NJ Transit announced it would discontinue the service due to low ridership, hospital officials said.

Under the new taxi service, eligible patients who have an appointment at the hospital, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Community Health Center, or the Medical Arts Pavilion can call 609-853-6200 to arrange a free door-to-door, round-trip ride.

Patients should call 24 hours in advance and schedule a pickup time for at least 30 minutes before their appointment time. The first pickup will be at 7:30 a.m. and the last pickup will be at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The service will also be available on the two Saturdays each month when the Bristol-Myers Squibb Community Health Center is open.

Bilingual staff members will be available to take calls Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and two Saturdays each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

The service is intended for non-emergencies only. Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should call 911.

Princeton University has also added a stop at Palmer Square on the TigerTransit bus line that goes to the hospital. TigerTransit is free and the public is allowed to use the bus service.