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System ridership reaches all-time high of more than 225M trips

March 9, 2005

Citing an improving regional economy, job growth and service expansions, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington today announced that ridership on the system’s trains, buses and light rail lines increased to more than 225 million trips in 2004, up 4.4 percent from 2003 levels. The ridership level is the highest in NJ TRANSIT’s 25-year history, surpassing pre-9/11 levels.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of new employment figures for the month of January 2005 showing that the jobless rate in New Jersey dipped below four percent for the first time in nearly four years. The national rate for this period was 5.2 percent.

“We know that there is a direct correlation between the health of our region’s economy and demand for public transportation,” said DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere. “It is more important than ever that we look for ways to expand capacity on the system to meet the needs of the future, including construction of a new rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York.”

For calendar year 2004:

  • Bus ridership exceeded 150 million trips, an increase of nearly three percent over 2003 with increases present throughout the state and balanced between northern and southern New Jersey.
  • Rail ridership approached 64 million passenger trips, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2003.
  • Light rail ridership increased 24.3 percent to 11.3 million trips.

With ridership at record highs, it is critically important that we effectively match capacity with demand,” said Executive Director Warrington. “In fact, as part of our April rail timetable change, we will offer some low- or no-cost, high-impact service additions.

Mr. Warrington cited several factors that have influenced the record-setting gains in ridership on the NJ TRANSIT system, including the role of the region’s economy and employment market, new services and expansion of existing services.

During 2004, regional employment (New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey) increased approximately one percent. Employment in the State of New Jersey increased 1.5 percent and continues to grow.

New and expanded services include the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, Montclair Connection, Secaucus Junction, Hamilton Rail Station, River LINE, Newark Airport Rail Station and Union Rail Station. Service improvements include the addition of 86 weekday and 105 weekend trains, increased service on 47 bus routes, and the addition of 11,000 parking spaces.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 764,000 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 52 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

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