Mount Arlington Station Opens Monday, January 21
NJ TRANSIT will open its new Mount Arlington Station on Monday, January 21, offering commuters along the busy Interstate-80 corridor convenient access to train service.
With nearly 300 parking spaces ideally located at the Howard Blvd. Interchange, the Mount Arlington Station is expected to reduce congestion on the busy I-80 corridor by giving commuters the ability to leave their cars in favor of rail service.
On weekdays, the new station will be served by trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line and the Morristown Line, enabling customers to travel to Hoboken Terminal, where transfers are available to bus, PATH and trans-Hudson ferries. Customers traveling to midtown Manhattan will be able to transfer to MidTOWN DIRECT service at Dover or Montclair State University stations.
The new facility is fully accessible for customers with disabilities, featuring two high-level platforms, heated waiting shelters on the inbound platform, a pedestrian underpass and public address and passenger communications systems. The project also reconfigured and expanded the existing carpool and bus park & ride lot by 57 spaces.
The station is too small I think and it isn't a mjor stop on the line. To me that would be the only reason why it would have a low number of spaces.
^ Provide the spaces and they will come.
You have a point ablarc, we have to see how it goes considering today was the first day of it reopening. Also it is served by a bus route and if people car pool I think it should be enough but we have to see how it plays out.
NJ Transit says no to fare hikes
by firstname.lastname@example.orgTom Feeney/The Star-Ledger Wednesday March 12, 2008, 7:11 PM
NJ Transit will not raises fares on its train, bus and light rail routes this year, Executive Director Richard Sarles said today.
Fares were raised by an average of 9.6 percent in 2007. Had another increase passed in 2008, it would have been the first time since 1989 and 1990 that fares were boosted in consecutive years.
Because of the state's financial troubles and the austere spending plan Gov. Jon Corzine has proposed, some commuters have expressed fear that NJ Transit would have to ask its riders to pony up again.
Sarles said the governor's proposed budget would boost the state's operating subsidy to NJ Transit by $60 million. Its subsidy this year is $300 million, in an operating budget of more than $1.5 billion.
"We recognize that this is extraordinary given the current budget constraints ... " Sarles said. "However, new services and extraordinary expenses will not be covered at this level of funding."
Sarles said the agency will have to make deep administrative cuts to balance its operating budget. He did not elaborate.
NJ TRANSIT TRIP PLANNING NOW AVAILABLE ON GOOGLE
Partnership with “Google Transit” is regional first
March 12, 2008
NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT today became the nation’s largest public transportation agency to partner with Google, the global leader in online content, to provide online trip planning via "Google Transit."
Using the same scheduling data that drives NJ TRANSIT’s online Trip Planner, Google Transit can provide specific trip times and transfers for travel between any of NJ TRANSIT’s 164 rail and 60 light rail stations, integrating the data into the familiar Google Maps interface for convenient access to essential travel information.
The partnership also brings new features to NJ TRANSIT's website (www.njtransit.com) by integrating Google Maps with the information pages for each rail and light rail station, enabling customers to find local businesses—dry cleaners, restaurants, car rentals—without ever leaving the NJ TRANSIT site.
"For visitors to the region or the occasional rider who is less familiar with New Jersey’s public transportation options, it gives them a starting point for learning about NJ TRANSIT and is a key tool for attracting new riders to our system," said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Kenneth E. Pringle. "We’re bringing transit trip planning into the 21st century."
"In partnering with a heavily-utilized, widely-recognized search engine, we are increasing NJ TRANSIT’s visibility among potential mass transit riders," said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora M. Castillo, who also serves as chair of the board’s customer service committee. "We are also improving the experience of our existing customers by offering access to technology that gives them station locations, train departure times and nearby services at their fingertips."
"Our partnership with the world-renowned, highly popular Google not only allows us to offer NJ TRANSIT schedule information through Google Transit, but helps to pave the way for the seamless integration of regional transit information," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "As more transportation agencies in the region come online, customers will ultimately be able to plan their trips across multiple transit providers."
"Our partnership with NJ TRANSIT is another step in Google's continued commitment to provide users with truly useful local tools," said Google’s New Business Development Manager Tom Sly. "We are delighted to bring this service to regular NJ TRANSIT riders and to the thousands of visitors to this region."
NJ TRANSIT is the first major public transit agency in the Northeast to partner with Google as it joins more than 30 transportation agencies in the United States and abroad that currently offer trip planning through the system.
Google Transit offers a number of features that benefit NJ TRANSIT customers, including:
-Suggested trips with next available departure and arrival times
-Ability to select desired departure or arrival time and date
-Estimated trip duration
-Transfer times and locations
-Visual depiction of the route on a geographical map
-Integration with other tools such as Google Maps for driving directions and Google Local for searches of nearby businesses and local landmarks
-Links to www.njtransit.com for customized planning tools and fare information
Bus schedule information is expected to be added to the system later this year.
The public-private partnership with Google Inc. was developed at no cost to NJ TRANSIT.
NJ TRANSIT customers can plan their trip via Google Transit at www.google.com/transit.
Zipcars available at five NJ Transit stations
by The Associated Press Monday April 21, 2008, 2:53 PM
Rental cars are now available at five locations used by NJ Transit rail commuters.
The transit agency is teaming with Zipcar to have vehicles at a light rail station at Liberty State Park, and four rail stations: Metropark, Montclair State University, Princeton Junction and Morristown.
Zipcar members can reserve a vehicle online or by phone and pick it up at a reserved parking location. Members have an access card that opens the vehicle and also serves as the ignition key.
NJ Transit to expand Northeast Corridor service, reduce Morris & Essex Lines
by Tom Feeney/The Star-Ledger Monday April 28, 2008, 7:07 PM
Weekend service will be expanded on the Northeast Corridor and reduced on the Morris & Essex Lines when NJ Transit adjusts its rail schedules later this month.
Four eastbound and five westbound trains will be added on the weekends on the busy Northeast Corridor between Rahway and Penn Station New York, NJ Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett said. The new trains are expected to reduce crowding on other local Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains.
On the Morris & Essex Lines, trains will run about once an hour on the weekends between Summit and Hoboken when the new schedule takes effect May 11. Trains now run twice an hour during some parts of the weekend days on that line.
Riders farther west on the M&E -- between Dover and Summit -- will see trains at roughly the same intervals they do now, but they will have to transfer at Summit or the Newark-Broad Street Station if they want to go to Hoboken. M&E riders will see similar reductions in service during off-peak times Monday through Friday.
NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles described weekend and off-peak ridership on the M&E as "anemic" when he addressed the board of NJ Transit on the subject earlier this month.
Hackett said the three- and four-car trains that run on the M&E off-peak average between 100 and 200 passengers, meaning they are sometimes up to three-quarters empty while trains elsewhere on the NJ Transit system are bursting at the seams.
The changes in the new timetables are not all bad for M&E riders: The schedule adds a peak-period train that will serve the two busiest stations on the line -- Maplewood and South Orange.
Plans move forward to revive Lackawanna Cutoff rail line
by Jim Lockwood/The Star-Ledger Wednesday June 04, 2008, 4:25 PM
A long-awaited plan to restore passenger rail service between Hoboken and Scranton, Pa., via the dormant Lackawanna Cutoff in Warren, Sussex and Morris counties took a major step forward today.
The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority included in its transit plans a 7-mile stretch of the cutoff from Andover Township in Sussex County to Port Morris in Morris County. Officials said trains could be running on this segment of the cutoff within "a few years."
And NJTPA officials say this segment of the defunct rail line, estimated to cost $36.6 million to revive, is eligible for federal funding.
Restoring the dormant 28-mile Lackawanna Cutoff is a key to a $551 million plan to revive the 133-mile passenger rail line between Hoboken and Scranton. A revived line would ultimately link to New York Penn Station by connecting to existing NJ Transit's Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex trains.
Last year, a series of hearings were held in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on a draft environmental assessment of the rail plan that showed no major problems, but a cost estimate that had soared from $200 million more than a decade ago to $551 million in 2006.
There are no timetables for construction on the rest of the line, beyond the 7.3 miles identified today.
The goal of the plan is to create a mass transit commuting alternative in fast-growing northwest New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania. Eight trains would run daily, with stations in Andover and Blairstown in New Jersey, and in Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Analomink, Mount Pocono, Tobyhanna and Scranton in Pennsylvania.
Proponents of the long-sought rail plan see it as necessary to remove cars from congested Route 80 in New Jersey.
But opponents say it would only cause further sprawl and increase traffic in Sussex and Warren counties and the neighboring Poconos, and would not remove cars from Route 80. NJ Transit estimates that rails from Scranton to Andover would have 3,350 eastbound daily riders, with most of those boarding at six stations in Pennsylvania, 280 getting on in Blairstown and 150 in Andover.
The Lackawanna Cutoff was built a century ago and abandoned more than two decades ago.
WOOD-RIDGE TO GAIN NEW TRAIN STATION ON BERGEN COUNTY LINE
NJ TRANSIT and private developer to share cost of Wesmont Station
June 11, 2008
NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized an agreement that will provide a new train station for residents of Wood-Ridge in Bergen County, part of a plan to transform a former industrial site into a transit-friendly, mixed-use neighborhood.
"This project builds on the principles of transit-oriented development by converting an existing brownfield into a thriving community," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri.
The agreement between NJ TRANSIT and Wood-Ridge Development LLC, of Lakewood, NJ, will share the cost for design and construction of a new train station and parking facility on the Bergen County Line in the Borough of Wood-Ridge, on the site of the former Curtiss-Wright industrial plant. The train station will be known as Wesmont Station.
As part of the plan, NJ TRANSIT will realize $37 million in improvements including a new infrastructure maintenance facility.
"The new Wesmont Station and transit-oriented development will transform what is now an underutilized property in the Borough into a new, productive neighborhood with convenient access to rail service," said State Senator and Wood-Ridge Mayor Paul Sarlo.
"This is a win-win for NJ TRANSIT and the community," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "With more demands on our system, this plan will help us to better maintain our infrastructure to ensure safe, reliable service for the thousands of customers who use the Bergen County Line each day."
The Borough previously approved plans for redevelopment of the 78-acre property and selected Wood-Ridge Development LLC as the master developer. NJ TRANSIT has worked closely with the Borough and the developer on a plan that will provide a new, fully accessible rail station and parking facility to serve a transit-oriented, mixed-use community.
Construction of the new rail station is expected to begin in 2009, with completion in 2011.
PURCHASE OF LOW-FLOOR BUSES MARKS A FIRST FOR NJ TRANSIT
Board also approves new cruiser buses to further expand fleet
December 10, 2008
NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved the purchase of 57 new buses—including the State’s first with a low-floor design—that will enable the agency to better serve bus routes throughout the state and meet growing ridership demand.
"The purchase of 57 new buses represents our commitment to investing in New Jersey’s expansive bus system, and we are pleased to introduce the State’s first low-floor buses, with features that allow for faster, easier boarding and alighting," said Acting Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Stephen Dilts. "These new low-floor and cruiser buses will supplement the 1,145 transit and suburban-style buses that are already on order as we renew and expand the fleet."
The Board authorized a $12.5 million contract with North American Bus Industries, Inc., of Anniston, Alabama, for the purchase of 39 low-floor, 32-foot transit buses to replace some of the agency’s older buses.
Also today, the Board authorized a $9 million contract with Motor Coach Industries, Inc., of Schaumburg, Illinois, for the purchase of 18 new cruiser buses, which are used on long-distance routes.
"These buses will help meet the record demand for bus service throughout the state," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "The cruiser buses fill a need created by growing ridership, especially on commuter routes to Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York, while the low-floor buses will allow us to replace some of our older buses and offer higher capacity in the southern part of the state."
The new low-floor buses will improve service reliability, offer comfortable interiors for customers, and provide greater capacity than the buses they are replacing. The low- floor design will enable customers to board and exit the bus more rapidly than buses with steps. A ramp in the front door and a kneeling feature will accommodate customers with disabilities.
Twenty-six of the low-floor buses will be used on NJ TRANSIT routes in southern New Jersey—primarily out of Egg Harbor Garage for use on Ventnor Avenue in Atlantic City. The remaining 13 will be used on contracted routes in Morris County.
"When I first arrived on the Board of Directors nine years ago, the purchase of smaller-sized buses for use in the Atlantic City area was a priority based on community feedback," said NJ TRANSIT Board Member Flora M. Castillo. "These new low-floor buses will replace the ones I inaugurated back then, continuing my commitment to meeting community needs."
The 18 new cruiser buses will be similar to NJ TRANSIT’s existing fleet of cruiser buses already in operation. Expanding the fleet will allow for greater operational flexibility, enabling NJ TRANSIT to better serve growing ridership demand throughout the state.
The cruiser buses will be deployed on New York commuter bus routes serving Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Somerset, Passaic and Union counties.
All 57 of the new buses will meet or exceed the latest environmental standards by incorporating technologies to reduce exhaust emissions.
Delivery of the 18 cruiser buses is expected early next year, with delivery of the 39 low- floor buses following in late 2009.
by Jeff Diamant/The Star-Ledger
Friday January 02, 2009, 5:30 PM
A long-range transit plan to decrease commuter rail delays and increase train capacity between New Jersey and Manhattan has cleared an important hurdle after a federal agency approved a $1.3 billion project to replace an old train bridge over the Hackensack River, officials said today.
The Federal Railroad Administration, which was reviewing the replacement project's environmental impacts, ruled that plans can go forward for two new bridges with a combined five tracks. The bridges will take the place of a problematic two-track bridge between Secaucus and Kearny that presently carries all NJ Transit and Amtrak trains between New York and New Jersey.
Jon Naso/The Star-LedgerA commuter train crosses the Portal Bridge, which runs between Secaucus and Kearny in this view from the Kearny side.
"It's a significant milestone in the project," said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJ Transit. "They issued a decision which allows money to flow. It brings the project into a shovel-ready status, meaning we can move to construction within a relatively short period of time."
Amtrak and NJ Transit will now begin designing the new structures. That work is expected to take between 18 and 24 months, said Richard Sarles, executive director of NJ Transit. Construction could then start around 2011 and would take an estimated five and a half years.
The current 99-year-old structure, known as the "portal bridge," poses
problems because its lowest point is only 20 feet from the river. The bridge can pivot to allow boats and barges room to pass, but when that happens train riders are often kept waiting in both directions. And sometimes, when the river traffic has passed, it does not smoothly revert to bridge form.
"It's 100 years old, and despite Amtrak's best efforts to maintain it, it doesn't close as soon as you'd like it to close," Sarles said.
The two new bridges -- one to the south of the current bridge, and one to the north -- will be 40 and 50 feet above the river, respectively. The two-track southern bridge would be high enough that far fewer trains will be disrupted by maritime traffic than are disrupted with the current bridge. All passing boats would be able to fit under the three-track northern bridge, Sarles said.
Three years ago, the U.S. Coast Guard began limiting river traffic at the portal bridge, allowing it to stay in continuous operation shouldering trains from 6 a.m to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The new bridges, when paired with a proposed new $8.7 billion train tunnel under the Hudson River expected to open in 2017, will allow NJ Transit and Amtrak to more than double their combined number of hourly rush-hour trains entering or leaving Manhattan from 23 to 48, Stessel said.
In a 23-page document, the Department of Railroad Administration contends the added train capacity will lead to fewer automobile trips across the Hudson River and improve air quality.
Hopefully they will work out a system where they can share bridges in case of a maintenance problem.
NJ Transit looks to replace aging rail cars
By LARRY HIGGS • GANNETT NEW JERSEY • February 10, 2009
The silver-sided electric powered rail cars that have plied the North Jersey Coast, Northeast Corridor and Morris and Essex lines since the late 1970s are nearing the end of the line.
The oldest cars in NJ Transit fleet, known as Arrow IIIs, have been in service since NJ Transit re-electrified the Coast and Morris and Essex lines in the early 1980s. The cars ran on the Northeast Corridor before that.
NJ Transit officials have put out requests for proposals to replace the aging cars with similar cars that are powered by motors in each car instead of being hauled by a locomotive, said Richard Sarles, NJ Transit executive director.
Electric-Multiple Unit cars (EMUs) are better for high-density rail lines with more stops, Sarles said.
"Certain areas need quick acceleration," Sarles said.
NJ Transit's fleet includes rail cars hauled by electric locomotives, which some transit advocates had argued weren't able to meet the start-and-stop demands of some of its rail lines. Advocates argued the rail cars were too heavy for locomotive-hauled trains to match the acceleration of EMUs. Starting in 1989, about 230 Arrows were rebuilt.
NJ Transit is acquiring the last 100 multilevel rail cars, with 200 of them on the railroad now, he said.
The new multilevel cars, which have entered service during the past two years, are heavier than single-level rail cars. NJ Transit experimented with having two electric locomotives haul a train of multilevel cars to see if they could approach the performance of EMUs, Sarles said.
While a cost for the EMU replacements isn't known, Sarles said it would be funded through the state Transportation Trust Fund.
Courtesy of the Daily Record of Morris County