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NJ TRANSIT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL BUSES TO MEET RIDERSHIP DEMAND

More seats on up to 31 routes

November 21, 2005
NJT-05-150
Contact: Dan Stessel 973 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ
With bus ridership at an all time high, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the purchase of 53 cruiser buses and the lease of up to 20 cruiser buses to provide capacity to meet ridership demand.

The additional buses, which will be phased into service over the next nine months, will enable NJ TRANSIT to increase capacity on 31 routes in Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Passaic and Union counties, the Route 9 corridor, and routes in Atlantic City and South Jersey.

In addition, the new buses will allow for operational flexibility as NJ TRANSIT takes buses out of service to upgrade onboard fare collection equipment starting in mid-2006. During the upgrade, nearly 2,100 fare registers will be replaced and more than 1,000 fare boxes will be rehabilitated.

"These additional buses will enable us to provide capacity consistent with ridership trends and will give us a margin of operational flexibility to make upgrades to our existing bus fleet without affecting service quality, said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington.

Total bus ridership climbed to a record 519,000 average weekday trips during FY05, with ridership on New York commuter routes increasing 8.4 percent. Preliminary ridership data for the first quarter of FY06 indicate a further gain of approximately six percent.

In advance of today's Board authorization, NJ TRANSIT bus planners completed an analysis of fleet utilization relative to recent ridership trends and expected growth. The study identified the need to add equipment for increased ridership, as well as the need to adjust schedules to reflect the impact of traffic congestion on service quality.

The new buses will be manufactured in accordance with specifications similar to those used in NJ TRANSIT's bus purchase during 2000-2002, ensuring compatibility across the 900 cruiser bus fleet and allowing for cost efficiencies in the areas of operator and maintenance training, parts, inventory costs and availability, as well as special equipment used to maintain the buses.

Factoring for general inflation, higher steel prices and new ADA and environmental mandates, the cost of the new buses is comparable to the price per vehicle paid by NJ TRANSIT during its procurement of more than 1,000 buses in 2000.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 800,000 weekday 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, 53 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.