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NJ TRANSIT BOARD TAKES STEPS TO IMPROVE ACCESS LINK SERVICE

Approves purchase of 184 minibuses, new provider for South Jersey

September 22, 2005

NEWARK, NJ –
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved a series of measures to improve Access Link service, including the purchase of 184 accessible minibuses over four years and naming Laidlaw Transit Services to provide paratransit service in four South Jersey counties.

"NJ TRANSIT’s Access Link service is an important lifeline for New Jersey residents with disabilities," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "Through this action, NJ TRANSIT will continue to provide this critical service for years to come."

Access Link, NJ TRANSIT’s paratransit service, provides more than 500,000 trips annually for eligible people with disabilities. The service, available in areas where NJ TRANSIT operates local, fixed-route bus service, offers curb-to-curb service to customers with disabilities who are unable to use the existing fixed-route bus.

The $9.9 million bus purchase agreement was awarded to American Bus and Coach LLC of Trenton. The purchase will allow NJ TRANSIT to replace 103 minibuses that have exceeded 200,000 miles, five years of service or both. In addition, the order allows NJ TRANSIT to expand its paratransit fleet with an additional 81 buses.

The new minibuses will feature a combination of fixed, flip and foldaway seats, as well as securement areas for customers who use mobility devices. Depending on the vehicle’s length and layout, minibuses can hold as many as 12 seated passengers and up to three passengers using mobility devices.

A prototype minibus is scheduled to be in service by February 2006, with delivery of all 184 minibuses completed by May 2006. Access Link providers, the contracted private operators that operate paratransit service in six regions around the state, will be leased the new vehicles.

New Access Link Provider

The Board also approved a $25.1 million, seven-year contract with Laidlaw Transit Services of Overland Park, KS, to provide Access Link service in the Region 3 territory, which includes Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and southern Ocean counties.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 800,000 daily trips on 240 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, 52 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.