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NJ TRANSIT BOARD APPROVES REVISED BUS SERVICE OPTIMIZATION PLAN

Bus service adjustments to take effect September 1; No. 78 bus route to continue operation

July 11, 2012
NJT-12-055

NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved the implementation of a revised Bus Service Optimization initiative that reflects customer feedback while still ensuring the State’s bus system is operating at maximum efficiency by making the most strategic use of the agency’s resources.

The revised Bus Service Optimization plan, which will take effect on September 1, 2012, contains both service reductions on underperforming routes, as well as new investment in expanded and enhanced service along heavily-travelled corridors.  As a result of the public hearing process, the No. 78 bus route between Newark and Secaucus, which was proposed to be discontinued under the original plan, will not be eliminated.

“This plan will help optimize NJ TRANSIT bus operations for sustained, long-term growth, while also reinvesting critical resources to expand and enhance bus service within key transportation corridors,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson.  “A direct result of NJ TRANSIT’s Scorecard initiative, Bus Service Optimization will ensure that NJ TRANSIT uses its limited resources to provide the best service to the most customers, all while keeping fares stable.”

In June, NJ TRANSIT conducted an open public comment period and held two public hearings and an information session to solicit feedback from customers and members of the public.  During the public outreach process, NJ TRANSIT received 101 comments from the public on the original Bus Service Optimization proposal.

“All of the comments we received from our customers and members of the public were taken into consideration in preparing the revised Bus Service Optimization plan,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein.  “Through compelling testimony from our customers, the public hearing process provided us with a clearer understanding of the impacts of discontinuing the No. 78 bus route, which is reflected in the modified plan.”

The original proposal first unveiled in May called for adjustments to eleven bus routes, including the elimination of service on some routes.  The routes are either largely underutilized, or directly compete with NJ TRANSIT rail or light rail services. These routes average 16 customers per trip, in comparison to the systemwide average of 35.  

As part of the final Bus Service Optimization plan approved by the Board today, ten bus routes will be adjusted effective September 1, 2012.  In response to public comment, NJ TRANSIT revised the plan to retain service on the No. 78 bus route. 

The routes to be adjusted include:

  • No. 42 (Newark-18th Avenue):  Discontinue service
  • No. 43 (Newark-Jersey City):  Discontinue service
  • No. 56 (Elizabeth/Cranford/Winfield):  Widen peak hour headway from 25/40 minutes to 60 minutes
  • No. 57 (Elizabeth/Linden):  Eliminate first/last round trips on weekdays
  • No. 75 (Butler-Newark):  Discontinue service
  • No. 93 (Bloomfield-Newark Light Rail):  Discontinue service
  • No. 181 (Union City-NY/GWB):  Discontinue Sunday service
  • No. 258 (Bloomfield/Newark Airport):  Eliminate University Heights Branch, adjust headway to 30 minutes all day 
  • No. 451 (Camden/Lindenwold PATCO):  Eliminate service between Voorhees Town Center and Lindenwold PATCO 
  • No. 604 (Trenton/East Trenton):  Eliminate some peak-hour service between Trenton Transit Center and Justice Complex

For these 10 separate routes, most customers will not be significantly impacted, as system access remains available with alternatives.  In some cases, customers may need to walk a reasonable distance to access service, or be subject to a two-seat ride instead of a one-seat ride.  

NJ TRANSIT’s revised Bus Service Optimization initiative forecasts approximately $2.5 million in annual operating savings.  These savings will be reflected in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget and will be utilized to help keep fares stable for the nearly 250 million customers who utilize NJ TRANSIT services on an annual basis. 

Of this savings, NJ TRANSIT will be immediately reinvesting more than $1 million to expand and enhance bus service within the City of Newark, in addition to key corridors between Newark, Newark Airport and Elizabeth. 

This reinvestment of savings will be reflected in:

  • The restructuring of Route No. 62 (Newark-Woodbridge-Perth Amboy) into two separate routes, allowing for the creation of 24/7 service between the heavily-travelled Newark-Newark Airport and Elizabeth Corridor.  Optimization reinvestment will increase bus service reliability, balance resources and help spur job access at the airport.
  • The extension of Route No. 99 (Newark-Hillside Cross-town) to the Branch Brook Park Newark Light Rail Station.  Reinvestment will provide Newark residents and employees with connections to more than a dozen routes and access to the light rail system.  It will also improve service to major medical facilities, schools and universities.

NJ TRANSIT’s Bus Service Optimization initiative resulted from extensive examination of each of NJ TRANSIT’s existing bus routes.  As part of this process, the bus routes were broken down into seventeen groupings or geographic markets and reviewed using twenty separate metrics, including customers per hour, fare box recovery and subsidy per customer.  The process is in keeping with NJ TRANSIT’s Scorecard initiative, which uses a system of metrics in five strategic areas of focus to help drive decision making. 

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 260 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the second largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.