CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)
NEWARK, NJ, June 13, 2001 -- Current and future NJ TRANSIT bus drivers will have additional opportunities to enhance their driving skills following approval by the Corporation's Board of Directors of a $452,000 contract with Doron Precision Systems, Inc. (DPS).
Under the contract, the Binghamton, NY company will enhance NJ TRANSIT's driver-training computers at the Corporation's Maplewood training facility and at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden. In addition, DPS will also add four positions to Camden's driver-training computer, doubling the number of bus drivers that can use the machine at one time. The company also will provide an additional Vehicle Maneuvering Training System (driver simulator) at the Walter Rand Transportation Center similar to the one already in use at the Maplewood facility.
"New Jersey's roads are among the most congested in the country," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "Bus operators must be prepared to deal with all sorts of road and weather conditions. These enhancements will improve driver training and prepare them to deal with just about any road condition."
"The driver simulation programs pay for themselves," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "NJ TRANSIT drivers who have participated in the training and simulation programs have had an almost perfect success rate in obtaining their Commercial Driver's License. They also have fewer incidents. In the end, these programs save NJ TRANSIT thousands of dollars defending personal injury and damage claims."
The Vehicle Maneuvering Training System (driver simulator) device to be installed at the Walter Rand Transportation Center will create real time bus driving conditions for bus operators and operator trainees using cameras mounted atop a miniature bus. The virtual reality-type system allows operators to "feel" every bump and witness various scenarios as the miniature bus proceeds through the course, picking up "passengers" and avoiding potential problems. The Maplewood simulator already provides such training for North Jersey bus operators.
The driver-training computer tests operators under certain scenarios generated by a computer. This method allows NJ TRANSIT to identify and correct operator weaknesses. When the four consoles are added at the Walter Rand Transportation Center, eight operators will be able to use that training computer. Under the new contract with DPS, all consoles in Camden and Maplewood will be updated to resemble new MCI 4000D buses.
NJ TRANSIT first purchased driver simulation and training equipment in 1994. The updated equipment -- expected to be installed next month -- will be purchased with Transportation Trust Fund dollars.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 372,000 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.