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NJ TRANSIT INCREASING CAPACITY ON NEWARK LIGHT RAIL
NEWARK, NJ — In response to customers’ calls for more capacity, NJ TRANSIT has rolled out the first expanded light rail vehicle on the Newark Light Rail system. This is the first of 10 expanded vehicles to come for the Newark Light Rail following prototype testing. With 21 vehicles in the Newark Light Rail line, nearly half (10) will be the expanded type. Customers will enjoy a more comfortable ride as the larger vehicles provide a 50 percent increase in the number of seats per car.
This is the second expanded light rail in the NJ TRANSIT system. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has been using a prototype of the extended light rail car for almost three years with great success.
“Listening is an important tool when it comes to Customer Service, and that’s exactly what we did through our Scorecard process. The roll out of this new expanded vehicle on Newark Light Rail allows for 50 percent increase in capacity per car, which will help us to alleviate crowded conditions particularly at the platform level,’’ said NJ TRANSIT interim Executive Director Dennis Martin.
As part of a program approved by NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors in July 2014, a total of 35 light rail vehicles were authorized for expansion; 25 on Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and 10 on Newark Light Rail.
In July 2013, NJ TRANSIT unveiled a prototype of the expanded light rail vehicle and launched a pilot program to test the vehicle by rotating it in service along the three segments of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system.
To address the need for increased capacity, NJ TRANSIT partnered with Kinkisharyo International, LLC, the original vehicle manufacturer of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s existing fleet, and Twenty-First Century Rail Corporation to find an innovative, cost-effective solution that would not significantly impact the system’s infrastructure or require a costly investment in new rail cars.
Kinkisharyo came up with a design for an expanded vehicle that adds two additional sections to the existing light rail vehicle, increasing the number of sections from three to five. The additional sections increase the car length by 37 feet and expand seating capacity from 68 to 102 seats, as well as provide additional standing room.
Development of the five-section prototype drew upon existing resources and spare Hudson-Bergen Light Rail equipment, resulting in no additional cost to New Jersey taxpayers.
Retrofitting existing vehicles in the fleet with the vehicle extender represents a significant cost savings over the purchase of entirely new standard light rail vehicles. At approximately $1.55 million per car, the cost for converting vehicles is about one-third the cost of purchasing new vehicles at $4.6 million each. Further, more than 80 percent of the project costs are federally funded under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 938,500 weekday trips on 257 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.