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Seven-year deal covers Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex and northern Ocean counties

February 13, 2007

The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today awarded a seven-year contract to Laidlaw Transit Services Inc. to provide public transportation services to central New Jersey residents whose disabilities prevent them from using NJ TRANSIT’s regular bus service.

The $7.2 million contract, plus five percent for contingencies, was awarded through a competitive process and contains enhanced standards for Access Link paratransit service for Region 4, which includes Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex and northern Ocean counties. The enhanced standards cover such areas as customer service, performance incentives, operator development, system efficiency, vehicle maintenance and quality safeguards.

"Extending public transportation services to residents with disabilities so they can fully and independently participate in community life is a job we gladly take on," said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri. "This long-term contract ensures appropriate service for these important customers."

The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors also approved additional funding for the existing Region 4 paratransit contract, held by Laidlaw, which expires May 6, 2007. The additional funding of $1.24 million, plus up to five percent for contingencies, will cover unanticipated costs due to higher ridership, fuel costs and longer trips.

The contract runs from May 7, 2007 through May 7, 2014 and anticipates an average cost per rider to rise to $49, or 17 percent above the $42 per-trip cost under the previous contract through May, 2005.

Under the 1990 federal Americans with Disabilities Act, public transit agencies are required to provide unconstrained paratransit services for individuals with disabilities who cannot use fixed-route transportation systems at the same cost as traditional services. The service is expressly for customers who cannot use conventional services because of their disability, a lack of accessible equipment or a combination of disabilities and environmental barriers.

  • Currently 14,130 people statewide are eligible for Access Link service.
  • In Region 4, some 2,386 customers are certified Access Link users. They take about 430 passenger trips daily.
  • The annual number of trips taken by Region 4 customers has grown about 7 percent annually from May 2004 to October 2006.
  • Average trip length in Region 4 has grown from 11 to 14 miles over the same period.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 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, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.