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NJ TRANSIT UNVEILS ITS TRANSPORTATION PLAN FOR PRUDENTIAL CENTER AND NEWARK DOWNTOWN VENUES
Additional trains, improved access to Market Street and on-street customer ambassadors
October 9, 2007
NEWARK, NJ — Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker summed it up in a sentence: “NJ TRANSIT is the way to go to the new Prudential Center.”
That was the message today at an event at Newark Penn Station where the mayor joined NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin and Prudential Center officials to unveil new public transit options for Newark with convenient service to the new arena, which opens Thursday, October 25.
“We have long recognized the importance of public transportation to support Newark, and I am grateful for all that has been done to create a seamless travel experience for Prudential Center guests, as well as those visiting other great destinations here in Newark,” said Mayor Booker. “As we approach the opening of this beautiful new facility, our advice to visitors is to leave the car at home and take full advantage of our city’s network of trains, buses and light rail options.”
In response to growing ridership in Newark, NJ TRANSIT will add new late-evening express service on several rail lines, which also will provide arena guests more convenient travel options after concerts, Devils games and other sporting and entertainment events.
In addition, a major improvement project—known as Market Street Access—will give NJ TRANSIT customers an improved experience as they travel between Newark Penn Station and the Prudential Center, located two blocks west of the station via Market Street.
The improvements outlined today will also benefit Newark residents, employees who work in the city’s Central Business District and visitors to Newark’s other downtown destinations, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark Bears Stadium. Twenty-five percent of people traveling to and throughout Newark take public transportation.
“Ridership on lines that serve Newark has increased nearly nine percent over last year,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. “In response, we’ve added more service as part of our fall schedule change, which will be convenient for people traveling to events at Prudential Center. In fact, we want to be the preferred choice for transportation—whether you’re going to a Devils game, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, or any of the other destinations downtown Newark has to offer.”
“We are investing more than $800 million to turn the PATH system from the oldest rail system in the country into the newest, ensuring the PATH system will remain an important part of the downtown Newark transportation mix,” Ms. Bass Levin said. “With additional trains ready for Prudential Center events, PATH customers will have the flexibility to stay and enjoy all that Newark has to offer.”
“On October 25, Newark will join a select group of cities whose arenas enjoy direct access to world-class public transportation,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman and Managing Partner of the New Jersey Devils. “We encourage guests to take advantage of the robust train, bus and light rail service within steps of Prudential Center.”
“We have always known that one of the strengths of Prudential Center would be its proximity to Newark Penn and Newark Broad Street stations, enabling guests to reach the arena from virtually anywhere in New Jersey, Manhattan, Philadelphia and beyond,” said Dale Adams, General Manager of Prudential Center, AEG. “We could not be happier with the level of cooperation and support we have received from NJ TRANSIT.”
Additional Service to Meet Demand
To meet growing demand and to provide additional travel options for customers returning home from evening events, NJ TRANSIT announced that it would add new late-evening weekday express service on the Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line (NJCL) when new timetables take effect on October 28.
Four new express trains will be added to the Northeast Corridor schedule after 9:20 p.m., serving Newark Liberty International Airport, then expressing to New Brunswick, Princeton Junction, Hamilton and Trenton.
Three new express trains to Long Branch will be added to the North Jersey Coast Line schedule, in addition to local trains terminating in South Amboy. Between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., NJCL customers will now enjoy at least two departures per hour from New York and Newark. Currently, NJ TRANSIT operates one train per hour after 9 p.m.
These new trains will originate at New York Penn Station, benefiting customers returning home from late-evening activities in Manhattan, and will operate Monday through Friday, regardless of whether there is an event at Prudential Center.
On the Raritan Valley Line, train 5457, the 11:07 p.m. departure from Newark Penn Station will be extended to High Bridge and renumbered as train 5757. (Train 5457 currently terminates in Raritan.)
On Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26, NJ TRANSIT will make several operational adjustments, including additional rail, bus and light rail trips on an as-needed basis.
Innovations in Passenger Communications
To ensure that arena visitors have up-to-the-minute train information for their return trip, NJ TRANSIT has worked with the Prudential Center to provide real-time departure information for Newark Penn and Newark Broad Street stations within the arena. The departure information will be displayed on LCD screens on the arena concourse, enabling guests to check the status of their train and determine the track number prior to walking to the station.
Additional Customer Service and Security
During major arena events, including the Bon Jovi concerts and Devils games in the first 10 days of arena operations, NJ TRANSIT will activate its “Newark Operations Center,” or “NOC,” which will serve as the nexus of customer service, police and operations personnel.
NJ TRANSIT Police (NJTPD) will provide additional patrols in and around Newark Penn and Newark Broad Street stations, as well as additional fare inspectors on Newark Light Rail. NJTPD has coordinated their safety plans with the Newark Police Department, as well as Gateway Security, which provides security services for Prudential Center.
To ensure that customers can get directions, information and general assistance, NJ TRANSIT has recruited a team of more than 100 employee volunteers to serve as “customer service ambassadors” during the first several weeks of Prudential Center events. Equipped with two-way radios and wearing bright yellow jackets, the ambassadors will greet arena guests as they arrive at Newark Penn or Newark Broad Street stations, answer questions and distribute downtown maps and post-event train schedules. The program has been integrated with similar ambassador programs staffed by the City and Prudential Center.
Also today, NJ TRANSIT announced that it would extend the hours of operation for the ticket windows, information booth and waiting room at Newark Penn Station. The ticket windows and information booth will remain open until 11 p.m. nightly, an hour later than today, while the waiting room will remain open until midnight. On nights with arena events, the customer service office will remain open until midnight. (Currently, customer service representatives are available until 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.)
Improved Access Between Newark Penn Station and Market Street
On Saturday, October 20, NJ TRANSIT will reopen the stairways that connect the platform level of Newark Penn Station with Market Street. These stairways are expected to be the primary point of egress for thousands of arena guests as they walk the short distance between the station and Prudential Center.
The stairways have been closed since May as NJ TRANSIT crews have worked to install new lighting, customer communication systems, new doors, marquees over each doorway, new signage, train information boards, closed-circuit cameras and other enhancements between Newark Penn Station and the arena.
With completion of the project, NJ TRANSIT buses will resume service to the regular bus stop on eastbound Market Street, under the railroad trestle. During construction, customers have been using a temporary bus stop on Ferry Street.
Other Improvements Benefiting NJ TRANSIT Customers
New information kiosks will be installed at Newark Penn Station displaying Downtown Newark maps.
More than 500 NJ TRANSIT buses will have their electronic displays programmed to read “VIA PRUDENTIAL CTR” if the bus serves the new arena.
A new 80-foot bus shelter will be installed at Newark Broad Street Station for customers traveling to Downtown Newark and Prudential Center.
For customer convenience, a ticket vending machine will be installed within the Prudential Center, adjacent to the Box Office.
Newark “SlowGo Traffic Advisories”
Mayor Booker announced today that the City would issue an alert to motorists—called a “SlowGo Traffic Advisory”—on certain days when the confluence of arena events and normal downtown traffic could result in significant traffic congestion. On these days in particular, the Mayor said, motorists would be urged to use public transportation to access Newark’s Central Business District, an area bound by Newark Penn Station, Newark Broad Street Station, Broad Street and Market Street.
Today, the City issued SlowGo advisories for the following dates:
Customer Travel Tips
The City of Newark is served by six of NJ TRANSIT's 11 rail lines, more than two dozen bus routes and the Newark Light Rail system, making it possible to travel to Prudential Center from communities throughout New Jersey and the region. Prudential Center is located two blocks from Newark Penn Station and is just a short bus ride from Newark Broad Street Station. Many NJ TRANSIT bus routes stop near Prudential Center.
- Visit www.njtransit.com for complete itinerary planning.
- Purchase your rail ticket prior to boarding the train. A $5 surcharge applies to tickets purchased onboard if ticket vending machines or ticket agents are available.
- To save time, buy your return trip ticket before going to Prudential Center.
- All buses serving Prudential Center require exact fare and will display “VIA PRUDENTIAL CTR” on their destination sign.
- Parking at many NJ TRANSIT rail stations is extremely limited on weekdays until about 6 p.m. If you are traveling before that time, you may wish to have someone drop you off at the nearest station, or use a station with a large parking facility such as Metropark, Hamilton, Ramsey Route 17, Montclair State University, Summit, Bridgewater or Grove Street stations.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 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.