New freeB named ‘Marvin 1’

Marvin Reed served as mayor of the Princeton Borough for 13 years. During that time, he was a major advocate for the freeB, a mini bus that serves the Princeton area with free transportation around town.

“Marvin is a hard guy to properly honor,” Mayor Liz Lempert said at the ribbon cutting of the new bus last Thursday.

Realizing the proper honor of naming the next FreeB “Marvin” came over coffee about eight months ago, Councilman Bernie Miller told the crowd gathered around the new bus.

“You might want to know, a lot of thought went into this,” Miller said smiling, extending his hand toward the bus as he stood beside the former mayor. “The Marvin 1 was finished last night at about 6:30 p.m. and the Marvin 2 is still in the shop. Marvin told me earlier he hopes there will be a Marvin 3, 4, 5 and 6. This is a great idea and I a m looking forward to many years of service, maybe as many as Marvin.”

Miller turned to his comrade, Reed.

When the ribbon was cut, the sky was gray and on the brink of rain, but the new freeB was a beautiful clear day – literally. The bus, with its design headed by Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton, is a patterned blue sky with white clouds, a hefty bike rack on the front and easy-to-read orange and navy writing that reads: “Princeton freeB, Marvin 1 welcomes you.”

“It looks like such a happy bus to step into,” someone said as people gathered for the small ceremony.

Lempert thanked the individuals who helped facilitate the creation of the Marvin 1, including Princeton University for its donation of the freeB.

“The municipality did a lot to do this – to get the Marvin 1 up and running is a big achievement,” Reed said. “I hope you do get 3, 4, 5 up and running, too. Keep reducing the traffic problems, keep working and make sure this is just the beginning. People will be able to get around town all the time.”

“Marvin, you can ride free anytime,” Lempert said warmly.

After the ribbon was cut, the crowd remained to chat over white frosted freeB cookies, shake hands and board the bus.

Resident and transit committee member Dosier Hammond sported a freeB t-shirt and passed out freeB schedules.

“It’s a great new bus and we’re trying to get the word out,” Hammond said.

“Before the freeB, there was no public transportation. It has transformed the lives of many residents,” said Fay Reiter, director of social services for Princeton Community Housing.

“I think the best part about the bus is that people can reliably plan to be out in town without needing to drive,” said Susan Hoskins from the Princeton Senior Resource Center, who added the freeB is a wonderful resource for senior citizens and Princetonians of all ages.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida