January 31, 2013
NEWARK, NJ — Reflecting the Christie Administration’s commitment to implementing reforms that result in meaningful changes for New Jersey residents, NJ TRANSIT today announced a record on-time performance (OTP) for trains during the 2012 calendar year, highlighting the celebration of NJ TRANSIT Rail Operations 30th anniversary of service to the Garden State.
The improved OTP is a direct result of NJ TRANSIT’s Scorecard initiative, which launched in 2011 as part of the Christie Administration’s push for increased accountability and transparency in the state government and its agencies, and uses performance standards, clear metrics and customer input to drive strategic decisions. Using Scorecard as a guide, NJ TRANSIT’s Rail division made tremendous improvements in 2012 that resulted in a record calendar year OTP of 96.4 percent, breaking the previous record of 96.2 percent set in 1995. This was achieved even while operating nearly 23 percent more trains than the former record calendar year.
NJ TRANSIT Rail also set or tied several monthly on-time performance records in 2012 by using qualitative metrics to identify trends in equipment maintenance and state-of-good-repair infrastructure projects, as well as to refine situational protocols. Customer feedback gathered through quarterly customer surveys, as well as from “We Are Listening” forums that give customers the opportunity to interact with senior management and operations personnel, is being used to target specific improvements needed to boost customer satisfaction. Along with on-time performance, customers have consistently ranked communications as among their top priorities, prompting NJ TRANSIT to enhance its communications focus by embracing social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Scorecard will continue to drive the efforts of NJ TRANSIT’s Rail Operations, which has served as a model for how this type of methodology can be applied to all areas of the agency to improve performance and boost overall customer satisfaction.
To support Scorecard, NJ TRANSIT continues to look for ways to put technology to work for customers to improve their overall commute, from the way they access travel information to their experience onboard trains and at facilities. To that end, new customer amenities have been introduced to rail customers in recent years, including online ticketing, automated announcements at rail stations, Web access from mobile devices, DepartureVision and My Transit alerts.
Over the course of the past three years, NJ TRANSIT has marked a number of important milestones in implementing customer amenities on the rail system. From 2010 to 2011, NJ TRANSIT completed a systemwide rollout of its Quiet Commute program to peak-period trains. In response to customer requests, Quiet Commute began as a pilot program on the system’s busiest trains to test the feasibility of offering the amenity on the NJ TRANSIT rail system. After receiving overwhelming positive customer and employee feedback, Quiet Commute was expanded to all NJ TRANSIT rail lines during peak hours.
In late 2011, NJ TRANSIT completed the installation of ticket vending machines (TVMs) on the entire rail system, equipping all 164 rail stations with the amenity and introducing the technology to several stations on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley, Morris & Essex and Raritan Valley lines that did not previously have them available.
Last year, under the leadership of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, NJ TRANSIT turned a keen eye toward ramping up rail safety across the state through recommendations from the NJ Safety at Railroad Crossings Leadership Oversight Committee. The Committee recommended a series of safety initiatives to reduce fatalities along New Jersey’s rail network through an “E-cubed” approach—engineering, enforcement and education. As part of this effort, NJ TRANSIT unveiled two new powerful public service announcements promoting rail safety, conducted “Safety Day” press conferences at key locations, and revamped its Rail School Safety Program to include compelling accounts from police officers and train engineers. In addition, NJ TRANSIT Rail Operations is piloting new rail safety devices to enhance pedestrian safety around the tracks, including a new “Another Train Coming” sign at Plauderville Station and “gate skirts” at Aberdeen-Matawan Station.
History of NJ TRANSIT
As NJ TRANSIT Rail Operations celebrates its 30th anniversary, the agency is recognizing the evolution that has taken place from its challenging beginnings to the delivery of an efficient transportation system that serves New Jersey and the surrounding region three decades later.
On January 1, 1983, a dedicated group of employees — combined with support from the State and Federal governments — began transforming an aging and disjointed passenger railroad system into one of the premier passenger railroads of North America. A combination of needed investments, smart planning and a shift in railroad culture from “moving equipment” to “serving customers” led to delivery of a safer and more convenient, reliable and cost-effective service.
Older railcars and locomotives were refurbished or replaced with ADA-accessible equipment. New high-level platforms were built for customers with disabilities and faster boarding and exiting of trains. Signals and overhead-wire catenary systems were modernized. Continuous welded rail was installed for a smoother, faster ride.
As on-time performance and service quality rose, so did ridership. That paved the way for more service expansion, including new North Jersey Coast Line Service to Hoboken, the launch of Atlantic City Rail Line service, the launch of MidTOWN DIRECT service, the opening of the Newark Liberty International Airport Station and the opening of the Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction that today allows customers access to 11 of NJ TRANSIT’s 12 rail lines.
NJ TRANSIT also centralized its maintenance and train dispatching functions in Kearny with the opening of the Meadows Maintenance Complex in 1987 and the Rail Operations Center in Kearny in 2003, creating a more modernized, reliable and efficient method of maintaining and operating trains.
Expanding the capacity of the rail system has also simultaneously included the addition of tens-of-thousands new parking spaces, including the addition of major park & ride facilities at Metropark, Ramsey Route 17, Montclair State University, Bay Street, Rahway, Hamilton, Trenton and Morristown stations.
In December 2006, NJ TRANSIT combined its focus on capacity expansion with its ongoing efforts to improve the customer experience by debuting the system’s first multi-level rail car. Multi-level cars (often called “Double Deckers”) offer 15-20 percent more seating capacity than single-level cars, enabling NJ TRANSIT to accommodate more customers using the existing infrastructure. At every phase, customers participated in the design of the new rail cars, making the multi-level rail cars the first of NJ TRANSIT’s fleet to be designed for customers by customers. A Customer Design Team, composed of 14 NJ TRANSIT commuters from across the system, worked with the manufacturer to provided feedback on interior design, onboard amenities, seat design, and color and fabric selection.
In addition to improving the customer experience, today’s rail system also stimulates economic growth around stations. Among the highlights of New Jersey’s Transit Village program are projects around Rahway, New Brunswick, Rutherford, Morristown, South Orange, South Amboy, Elizabeth, Montclair and Somerville stations.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 261 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, 61 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.