On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County.
Lora, Seidman and Milmed.
This appeal involves the propriety of a November 18, 1975 agreement between defendants Township of East Brunswick (Township) and Suburban Transit Corp. (Suburban) for the operation by Suburban of a Park-Ride facility on Route 18 in East Brunswick and the furnishing by it of certain services in connection therewith.
The essential facts are not in dispute. Plaintiffs are two resident taxpayers of East Brunswick and two motor bus carriers. Defendant Suburban is also a motor bus carrier. On October 8, 1975 the township council of defendant township advertised for bids "for the furnishing of Commuter-Bus Service Park and Ride Facility to be located along Route 18 in East Brunswick, N.J." The specifications required the bidders to agree to certain specific conditions, viz.:
1. During the morning commuter hours buses must originate at the Park and Ride lot, and operate directly to New York City.
2. During the morning commuter period a dispatcher must be assigned to manage the service provided from the Park and Ride facility.
3. A ticket agent must be on duty at the Park and Ride lot each weekday from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
4. The bus service shall begin no later than 6:00 a.m. each weekday morning. During the peak commuter periods, a five minute headway
shall be operated. Mid-day and evening service shall be provided both to and from New York with at leat [ sic ] one bus each hour. The last bus shall leave New York City at approximately 12 midnight.
5. Additional buses must be available on short notice to handle any passenger overloads.
6. The successful bidder will be responsible for cleaning and maintenance of the bus station.
The specifications were silent as to duration of the agreement as well as to other terms regarding operation, management and maintenance of the facility. The required proposal form called upon the bidders to state the "[m]onthly amount bid for the privilege of managing the terminal building and stated services."
Suburban was the only bidder. The township accepted the bid and awarded Suburban "the right to manage the proposed parking lot on Route 18 in accordance with the attached bid specifications for a fee of $200 per month payable in 12 equal installments at the beginning of the contract month." The November 18, 1975 agreement was prepared and executed. In it Suburban undertook to pay the stipulated sum to the township "for the privilege of managing and operating a Park-Ride facility, in accordance with bid specifications * * *." The agreement was conditioned on Suburban's ability to obtain and keep in force appropriate Interstate Commerce Commission authority to transport ...