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NJ TRANSIT’S RIDERSHIP REBOUNDING WITH STATE ECONOMY

Ticket revenues keeping pace with growth forecast

NJ TRANSIT’s ridership and revenues grew through the first three quarters of fiscal year 2004, a trend that tracks with the state’s economic recovery and job growth.

From July 2003 through March 2004, NJ TRANSIT’s overall system provided more than 165 million passenger trips, an uptick of more than 2 percent, generating revenue that slightly exceeded budget forecasts for FY04 by nearly one million dollars.

“The growth in transit ridership is another positive indicator of our state’s rebounding economy,” said Governor James E. McGreevey.

“Transit ridership tends to track closely with job growth in the region and, thanks to the Governor’s leadership, New Jersey’s job growth is at its highest level in our state’s history,” said DOT Commissioner and NJT Board Chair Jack Lettiere.

NJ TRANSIT experienced a ridership decline of more than 4 percent over a two-year period, from 2001 to 2003, as a result of the declining national economy intensified by the aftermath of 9/11. The decline curtained a robust period during the 1990s when the company experienced steady growth of about 4 percent a year.

“Like other area travel and transportation providers, our bottom line is realizing the benefit of the state’s economic turnaround,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington.

Consider the ridership increases by mode:

Rail: Through the first three quarters of FY2004, rail passenger trips increased by more than 3 percent. Operations provided more than 46 million passenger trips during the period. Third-quarter rail ridership increased 6.4 percent compared with the same period a year ago. All lines showed gains. The Main, Bergen County and Pascack Valley lines passenger trips increased 9.8 percent in the third quarter, which reflected the opening of Secaucus Junction and increased weekend service.

Bus: Through the first three quarters of FY2004, bus passenger trips increased by more than 1.1 percent. The overall bus ridership increase accelerated to 2.5 percent in the third quarter. The northern and southern division markets increased about 3.5 percent, and the central division market increased more than 1.3 percent in the third quarter.

Light Rail: Combined ridership for the three light rail lines grew 6.7 percent in the third quarter. Newark City Subway ridership grew nearly 11 percent.

In a report to NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting, Warrington said that the Corporation’s total operating expenses were favorable through April, despite fuel costs of $5.5 million over budget, due primarily to aggressive cost saving and cost management measures.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 752,600 daily trips on 238 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 49 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.