NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the purchase of 1,145 transit and suburban-style buses equipped with closed-circuit camera systems to enhance customer and employee security.
The $409.9 million purchase will renew the state’s bus fleet over a period of six years and mark the first time that NJ TRANSIT vehicles will be delivered with closed-circuit cameras as standard equipment.
"This action represents the most significant security investment ever in NJ TRANSIT’s bus system, thanks to continued support and interest from the bus union," said Jim Gigantino, NJ TRANSIT’s Acting Vice President and General Manager of Bus Operations. "The purchase of these buses will ensure that more than half of NJ TRANSIT’s fleet will be equipped with this type of technology as the new buses are delivered."
"The safety and security of our bus operators and customers is our highest priority, and we have worked closely with NJ TRANSIT to advance this issue," said Vito Forlenza, Chairman of the Amalgamated Transit Union. "The inclusion of the closed-circuit camera technology in NJ TRANSIT’s fleet will mean a big step forward in enhancing onboard safety."
NJ TRANSIT is currently conducting two bus camera pilot programs as part of an ongoing focus on employee and customer safety.
In October 2006, the NJ TRANSIT Board approved a pilot program to install video cameras on 74 buses operating out of Big Tree Garage in Nutley—which serves communities in Essex, Passaic, Bergen and Union counties—as well as cameras on 48 supervisor vehicles. The $424,000 one-year pilot will begin early this year and will enable NJ TRANSIT to evaluate the system’s benefits to operator and customer safety before proceeding with future installations. The cameras record data when activated by the operator or when triggered by a sudden change in "g-force" such as a collision or high-speed maneuver, capturing occurrences both inside and outside the bus.
In 2005, NJ TRANSIT installed digital cameras on 50 buses in South Jersey as part of a separate $1.5 million pilot program funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The cameras record footage from multiple interior and exterior positions and enable NJ TRANSIT police to view live video footage from aboard the bus.
In addition to enhancing safety and security, the new fleet of buses will offer improved service reliability and upgraded, comfortable interiors for customers. The buses will be equipped with wheelchair lifts and a kneeling feature, and will meet or exceed the latest environmental standards by incorporating technologies to reduce exhaust emissions.
The multi-year contract calls for the delivery of approximately 200 buses per year, replacing transit and suburban buses that will have exceeded their 12-year lifespan and will be eligible for replacement under Federal Transit Administration guidelines.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 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, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.