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543 machines to be upgraded, 157 new machines ordered

November 21, 2005
Contact: Dan Stessel 973 491-7078

The automated machines responsible for dispensing more than 39 million NJ TRANSIT tickets each year will become faster and more customer friendly as a result of action taken today by the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors. The Board approved a contract with Ascom Transport Systems, allowing for the complete overhaul and upgrade of all 543 machines currently in service, as well as the purchase of 157 new machines and associated maintenance and support services.

"Today’s authorization builds on the substantial investment we have made in these machines and infrastructure and allows us to work toward integrating new technology and regional fare card media,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “The new generation of NJ TRANSIT ticket vending machines also will make purchasing tickets more convenient and more efficient for our customers."

The new generation of TVMs will be easier to use for all customers—including those with disabilities—featuring larger ATM-style screens that will enable users to make selections simply by touching icons on an interactive display. For easier viewing in outdoor conditions, the displays will be angled toward the customer and will be six times brighter than the models they replace.

The new user interface will enable NJ TRANSIT to offer a wider array of ticketing options at each machine. For the first time, customers will be able to select their origin and destination by touching station names on the screen, rather than looking up and entering a three-digit code. Customers will also be able to purchase joint tickets from other carriers, including PATH, PATCO, SEPTA, Metro-North and NY Waterway.

In addition, the machines will automatically remember the five most recent itineraries purchased via credit card, enabling customers to repeat past transactions in a fraction of the time. For example, a monthly customer who purchases a rail pass to Hoboken with a ferry connection to New York will have the option to purchase that same itinerary again with a touch of a button, simply by using the same credit card.

The machines' onboard computers will be upgraded with faster processors and a more stable operating system that will reduce the transaction time for customers and result in an even higher level of reliability than the current fleet, which boasts an uptime of more than 98 percent. The machines will also be fully compatible with the smart card technology currently being developed by PATH and PATCO, as well as any future smart card program developed by NJ TRANSIT.

Other features include faster bill acceptors, voice-activated audio that meets federal ADA requirements, multiple language capability and a new “fast fare” option for rail customers traveling between major stations.

Today’s Board action will enable NJ TRANSIT to introduce or add TVMs at several stations on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley, Morris & Essex and Raritan Valley lines, as well as provide machines to support upcoming capital projects such as the Newark City Subway extension to Broad Street and the new Meadowlands Rail Station.

Ascom introduced the first NJ TRANSIT ticket vending machine in 1987. Since then, the company has invested time and resources into improving NJ TRANSIT’s point-of-sale equipment to make it as customer friendly as possible. Ascom has helped NJ TRANSIT reduce back office costs by providing the resources needed to support point-of-sale hardware and software, including programming and maintenance. In addition, the company provides faregate customer representatives at Secaucus Junction and the Newark Airport Rail Station.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 800,000 weekday 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, 53 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.