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Discount Encourages Mass Transit Use

CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)

NEWARK, NJ, May 25, 2001 -- NJ TRANSIT has reaffirmed its commitment to reduce ozone pollution by making available the heavily discounted OzonePass to New Jersey commuters again this summer.

OzonePass allows New Jersey companies to offer employees a $2 round-trip ticket for use on any NJ TRANSIT bus, train, or light rail line on days when high levels of ozone pollution are predicted. The ozone season runs through September 7, 2001.

"Ground-level ozone pollutes our air and affects everyones health," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "In many areas, motor vehicles are the single largest contributor to ozone pollution. Knowing this, we are asking commuters to leave their cars at home and use the OzonePass on NJ TRANSIT's buses, trains or light rail systems on ozone alert days."

"NJ TRANSIT buses, trains and light rail vehicles prevent more than eight tons of volatile organic compounds and more than 10 tons of nitrous oxides from entering New Jersey's air," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "Each individual can contribute to cleaner air and eliminate up to one pound of pollution a day just by using NJ TRANSIT."

OzonePass is sold to employers, who can in turn sell or give the passes to their workers. The day before unhealthy ozone pollution levels are predicted, the Ozone Action Partnership alerts participating companies by fax or e-mail. Company officials then notify their employees to take NJ TRANSIT and use OzonePass for the following day's commute.

The Ozone Action Partnership is comprised of nearly 500 businesses, government agencies and individuals working to reduce ground-level ozone pollution and curtail its detrimental effects on the environment and public health. The partnership fosters awareness of the ozone pollution problem and encourages voluntary corporate and individual actions to reduce ozone levels.

Ground-level ozone forms when car exhaust, fuel vapors and emissions from industrial sources are heated by the sun on hot summer days. Though air quality has improved greatly in the last few years, ground-level ozone continues to cause major health problems. High ozone levels can aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma. Long-term ozone exposure can cause inflammation of the lungs, lower disease resistance and reduce breathing capacity. Children, seniors, people with respiratory conditions and people who are active outdoors can be most severely affected. A 1995 New Jersey Environmental Health Perspective report found that emergency room visits in central New Jersey increased as much as 28 percent on days with high ozone concentration.

For more information on the OzonePass and the Ozone Action Partnership, organizations can contact NJ TRANSIT at (973) 491-7600 or their local Transportation Management Association at (800) 245-7665.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 372,000 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.