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DIRECT-CONNECT COMMUNICATION DEVICES APPROVED FOR TRAIN CREWS

Customers to Benefit from Better Information

To improve customer communications, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved today a two-year contract with Nextel Communications that will provide as many as 1,500 wireless direct-connect communication devices for front-line employees.

The wireless equipment will allow transit’s rail operations center to communicate with front-line employees on board trains without relying on radio relays between dispatchers and engineers. The direct-connect feature also enables immediate communications between crews members who may be several cars apart. The devices’ text messaging features further enable crews to receive up-to-the-minute information about train status and service issues that they can share with passengers.

“The benefit to our customers is significant,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “Real-time information about train status, rerouting and alternate accommodations and connecting trains will now be available to our train crews to share with our customers.”

The devices are being distributed following an eight-week pilot program in which they were tested by 30 crew members. The program is modeled after one which has proven very successful on Chicago’s Metra system.

NJ TRANSIT plans to begin distributing the wireless direct-connect devices by the end of the year.