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RIVER LINE POSTS 4.8 PERCENT WEEKDAY RIDERSHIP INCREASE

Gains in 2nd quarter of FY08

March 31, 2008
Contact: Penny Bassett Hackett or Dan Stessel
(973) 491-7078

NEWARK, NJ — Against the backdrop of higher fuel prices, more residents in Camden, Burlington and Mercer counties are turning to the River LINE as part of their daily commute. The 34-mile light rail line posted a 4.8 percent increase in weekday ridership during the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2008, the three month period from September 1 through December 31, 2007.

Average weekday ridership increased to 7,600 trips—a record high for the second quarter.

“The River LINE is living up to its promise of promoting economic development and providing a convenient, affordable and environmentally-friendly transportation alternative for a wide range of travelers – from daily commuters to weekend day-trippers,” said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and DOT Commissioner Kris Kolluri.

“When we opened the River LINE four years ago this month, we said that you could take the 34-mile trip for less than a gallon of gas. Today, you can take that trip for less than half the price of a gallon of gas,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. “We are pleased to report that ridership continues to grow as more and more residents of Burlington, Camden and Mercer counties discover the convenience and cost-effectiveness of making the River LINE part of their daily commute.”

Weekday gains were focused on trips to and from Trenton Station, where customers can make connections to Northeast Corridor rail service, as well as Amtrak and SEPTA trains. Under NJ TRANSIT’s fare policy, customers who have a weekly or monthly rail pass are able to ride the River LINE at no additional charge, simply by showing their pass. Monthly pass use was up 7.6 percent from last year.

Collectively, boardings at the two stations in Burlington increased 19.6 percent over the second quarter of FY07. Boardings at Delanco were up 18.9 percent.

The River LINE is entering its fifth year of service this month. Since the line opened on March 15, 2004, ridership has grown substantially as NJ TRANSIT made a series of service enhancements:

  • Introduced 15-minute peak-period service in June 2004
  • Enhanced Capital Connection bus service in Trenton to provide better connections with River LINE trains in June 2004
  • Launched new early-morning service to Trenton from Florence and Roebling in September 2004, enabling customers to make earlier connections to Northeast Corridor trains
  • Launched new early-morning service from Cinnaminson to Camden in January 2005
  • Added early-morning trips from Burlington South and Burlington Towne Centre stations in September 2006 to create additional Northeast Corridor and PATCO connections
  • Added a later (9:30 p.m.) Trenton departure in September 2006
  • Added early-morning trips from Camden and Pennsauken stations in May 2007 to create additional Northeast Corridor and PATCO connections
  • Launched late-night service to Route 73/Pennsauken in May 2007

Several towns along the alignment are capitalizing on the economic value that a good public transportation system adds to existing nearby neighborhoods and to land suitable for mixed-use development in accordance with Smart Growth principles.

Among the initiatives recently launched are a Transit Oriented Development proposal at the Beverly-Edgewater Park Station and the redevelopment of a former industrial property in Bordentown. In addition, Riverside in January named an exclusive developer of land around Riverside Station, where housing, commercial and retail space is proposed. And earlier this month, Burlington City named a developer for a 20-acre parcel along the Delaware River and a short walk to River LINE service.

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 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.