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Additional bi-level rail cars and new buses will enter service in 2006


July 27, 2005

NEWARK, NJ – NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors today took a major step toward increasing rail seating capacity and making the bus fleet 100 percent ADA compliant with purchases of state-of-the art bus and rail equipment. With ridership levels at an all-time high and expected to grow further in the years ahead, the Board authorized the purchase of 289 new buses and 131 additional new bi-level rail cars.

“Today’s decision will improve service reliability and seating capacity throughout the system,” said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. “More and more people are realizing that public transportation is an attractive alternative to driving, and today’s purchase of new equipment embodies our commitment to make transportation reliable, convenient and accessible to all our customers.”

“This investment is being made with an eye toward the future,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “The purchase of next generation buses and rail cars allows us to replace antiquated equipment that no longer meets the need of our customers. It also enables us to meet growing ridership and to run a more efficient operation to support the demand.”

New Buses to Replace Oldest in Fleet

The Board approved the purchase of 289 new suburban and transit buses to replace the aging fleet of Flexible Metro B buses, the oldest model in the system. Bus manufacturer Millennium Transit Services of Roswell, N.M., was awarded the $94 million contract. Two prototypes are expected early next year and will undergo a 90-day test period. The new buses are expected to begin entering revenue service next summer. Once the bus order is complete, NJ TRANSIT’s entire fleet of more than 2,000 buses, will be ADA compliant.

Built in 1989, the Flexible Metro B buses have become obsolete and are not accessible to customers with disabilities. The new buses will be equipped with wheelchair lifts and a kneeling feature, making the vehicles fully ADA compliant.

In addition, the buses will incorporate technologies that will reduce exhaust emissions in accordance with the Clean Air Act amendment, and will have diesel particulate filters that significantly reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions. The new buses will reduce NJ TRANSIT’s average PM emissions for the entire fleet by nearly seven percent.

These new buses will serve routes in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson, Hackensack, Elizabeth and Camden, as will as commuter service to New York City and Philadelphia.

131 Additional Bi-level Rail Cars Ordered

The bi-level cars are a key component of NJ TRANSIT’s strategy to increase capacity in the near term, prior to construction of the new Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel. The cars will each feature an average of 135 seats depending on the type of car—about 15 percent more than the single-level average Comet V coaches—in a 2-by-2 configuration that eliminates all middle seats. The cars also will provide passengers with the latest amenities including push button doors, automated destination signs, automated station-stop announcements, and state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning systems.

NJ TRANSIT will exercise an option negotiated in a 2002 contract with Bombardier Transportation for the purchase of 131 additional bi-level rail cars, bringing the total order to 231 cars. The option allows the Corporation to take advantage of a favorable and very competitive price—$1.57 million per car—that was built into the original agreement.

The new order, at a total cost of $214 million, will maximize the prior investment in developing state-of-the-art rail cars, which have been specifically designed to operate through the Hudson River tunnel. NJ TRANSIT is expected to take delivery of the first bi-level cars from the original 2002 purchase at the end of the summer.

The bi-level fleet enables NJ TRANSIT to replace more than 170 aging and obsolete Comet-I cars currently in service on the Main/Bergen, Montclair-Boonton, Raritan Valley and North Jersey Coast Lines.

Prior to entering service, the new rail cars will be tested at NJ TRANSIT’s Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, on NJ TRANSIT rail lines, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and at the Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colorado. Bi-level cars will appear first on New York-bound trains, where capacity is already constrained, to provide additional seats for customers. The cars are expected to enter revenue service in late 2006.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 779,200 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail 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.