NJ TRANSIT prototype vehicle will offer 50 percent more seating capacity

July 3, 2013

NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT today unveiled a prototype of an expanded light rail vehicle that offers 50 percent more seating capacity than a standard light rail vehicle at a fraction of the cost, thanks to a public-private partnership that will ultimately enhance the overall customer experience on the agency’s busy Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.


“Through customer surveys conducted as part of NJ TRANSIT’s Scorecard initiative, we’ve heard from customers, particularly on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, that crowding on trains is a top concern,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman James Simpson.  “Through a successful public-private partnership with the vehicle’s manufacturer, we will be piloting an expanded light rail vehicle on our system to test the feasibility of converting additional vehicles in our light rail fleet in order to increase capacity and ensure a comfortable ride for more customers.”


Since the launch of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail in 2000, ridership on the line has grown steadily.  In the past seven years alone, passenger trips have doubled to more than 45,000 per day.  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.


The expanded light rail vehicle will be placed into service starting tomorrow, July 4, and will be rotated to operate along the three segments of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system over the course of a six-month pilot program.


“We are placing the prototype into service for Independence Day to test its ability to help accommodate the larger number of customers who will be traveling along the Hudson River Waterfront to view the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein.  “We anticipate a successful pilot period that will enable us to move toward expanding additional light rail cars in our fleet to provide more seating capacity and standing room for our light rail customers.”


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.  The cost for converting additional vehicles would be developed jointly by NJ TRANSIT and Kinkisharyo, but is estimated to be significantly less that purchasing new standard light rail vehicles.


NJ TRANSIT will conduct a full evaluation of the pilot program before determining whether to expand additional light rail vehicles in its fleet.


About Hudson-Bergen Light Rail


Hudson-Bergen Light Rail provides more than 45,000 weekday trips between 24 stations in Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and North Bergen.  The system provides a vital link between waterfront destinations, NJ TRANSIT rail and bus routes, PATH trains and trans-Hudson ferry services. 


The one-way adult fare on Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is $2.10.  Discounted unlimited monthly passes are available for $64.  Children, senior citizens and passengers with disabilities save 50 percent or more at all times.  In addition, NJ TRANSIT customers holding a monthly or weekly rail pass, or a bus pass for two or more zones, can ride the system at no additional charge simply by displaying their pass.


Hudson-Bergen Light Rail opened in April 2000, connecting 12 stations along the first seven miles of the system—from 34th Street in Bayonne and West Side Avenue to Exchange Place.  Later that year, additional stations were opened at Pavonia/Newport, Harborside Financial Center and Harsimus Cove.


In September 2002, NJ TRANSIT opened the Hoboken Terminal light rail station, providing intermodal connections to commuter rail, trans-Hudson ferry, PATH and bus service.  The 22nd Street Station in Bayonne opened in November 2003, followed by the expansion of service north to 2nd Street and 9th Street in Hoboken and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken in September 2004.  NJ TRANSIT opened its northernmost stations—Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen and Bergenline Avenue in Union City—in February 2006, which also marked the start of full service to Port Imperial Station in Weehawken. 


In January 2011, NJ TRANSIT launched service on a one-mile extension from the previous southern terminus at 22nd Street to a new 8th Street Station in Bayonne. 




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 third 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.