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NEWARK, NJ, June 11, 2002 -- As today marks New Jersey's first Ozone Health Watch day, NJ TRANSIT is doing its part by encouraging corporations throughout New Jersey to participate in our OzonePass program. OzonePass will offer many New Jersey employees a discounted commute on days when high levels of ozone pollution are predicted.

The statewide transit Corporation's OzonePass will give New Jersey-based employers the opportunity to offer their employees a $2 round-trip ticket for use on any bus, train or light rail line on high ozone days. The ozone season runs from May 15 through September 6.

OzonePass is sold in bulk quantities to New Jersey employers who will either sell or give the passes to their employees. The day before unhealthy ozone pollution levels are predicted, employers will be alerted by fax or e-mail. The employers will then notify their employees who can use the OzonePass to commute on NJ TRANSIT instead of driving to work and contributing to the anticipated unhealthy pollution levels.

Ground-level ozone pollution forms when car exhaust, fuel vapors and emissions from industrial sources are "baked" by the sun on hot summer days. Though New Jersey's air quality has improved greatly over the last few years, ground-level ozone pollution continues to be a problem.

"Ozone pollution affects everyone, especially seniors, people with respiratory conditions and our children," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "To do our part, we are offering the discounted OzonePass to persuade commuters to leave their cars at home and take public transit on high ozone days."

Buses and trains keep tons of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from New Jersey's air. Encouraging more commuters to try transit instead of driving to work further reduces pollutants and improves the state's air quality.

The OzonePass program encourages employers to participate in the NJ Ozone Action Partnership -- comprised of more than 500 businesses, government agencies and other organizations. The partnership fosters awareness of the high ozone problem, encourages voluntary corporate and individual actions to reduce ozone pollution and reduces the negative effects it has on public health and the quality of life.

NJ TRANSIT was the first commuter system to introduce the OzonePass concept in 1999. Last year, 3,679 OzonePasses were used on the NJ TRANSIT system.

For more information on the OzonePass and/or the NJ Ozone Action Partnership, organizations can contact NJ TRANSIT at (973) 491-7121 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 380,600 daily commuters on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.