After announcing there will be no fare hikes for NJ Transit this year Gov. Phil Murphy is praising the agency for making steady progress as it continues to modernize its fleet.

During a press conference at the Glen Ridge Station on Monday, Murphy said he’s proud that during January, “NJ Transit rail compiled a 93% on-time rating with every single one of its eight lines exceeding 90% performance.”

He said at the same time NJ Transit buses ran 95.5% on time.

“These numbers are even more impressive when the devastating impact on the NJ Transit workforce and family, by the omicron tsunami is taken into consideration, remember January was the height and peak of that,” he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy at Mill One on the Trenton/Hamilton border
(Josue Lora, Governor's Office)
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The governor said the state budget he is introducing next week will include money to continue making important improvements for NJ Transit.

“We’re undertaking station improvements up and down NJ Transit’s lines, investing in modern, safe and more comfortable for customers to be in while waiting for their bus or train,” he said.

A series of reforms

He noted over the past several years a series of reforms have been enacted to make NJ Transit operations more transparent and responsive.

Murphy said “NJ Transit modernized the way it communicates with its riders, undertaking well overdue improvements to its mobile app and website to provide real-time system-wide updates.”

NJ Transit multilevel rail car
NJ Transit
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Additionally, he said maintenance operations have been modernized so train locomotives and cars needing repairs could quickly be fixed and put back into service, and new orders for buses, locomotives and rail cars were made to replace outmoded equipment.

“Those new buses are today on our roads, those locomotives are arriving and being put into service and those new rail cars won’t be too far behind,” he said.

He also noted 127 new rail engineers have joined the NJ Transit workforce, and the result of all of this “is an NJ Transit system that today is getting the overwhelming majority of its customers where they need to be, when they need to be there.”

More work to do

Nevertheless, the governor said nobody is spiking any footballs yet.

“We know we all still have work to do to win back the trust of every NJ Transit rider, and that work will continue throughout 2022.”

Masked NJ Transit bus drivers
Masked NJ Transit bus drivers (NJ Transit)
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NJ Transit President Kevin Corbett agreed a lot has been accomplished over the past four years but said “everyone at NJ Transit knows there is still much more to be done, and to be clear we’re not letting up at all until we’re consistently delivering the world-class service that our customers deserve.”

He noted over the past four years NJ Transit has awarded more than $4 billion in capital projects which are now underway or will soon enter the procurement phase.

Some of these projects include:

• NJ TRANSIT’s largest-ever construction contract for a new Portal North Bridge for $1.6 billion
• $600 million construction contract for the Raritan River Bridge which broke ground in September 2020
• A commitment to invest $250 million for the Walter Rand Transportation Center Improvement Project and $190 million to renovate and modernize Newark Penn Station
• Advanced construction on the new Northern Bus Garage which will accommodate up to 500 buses to meet current and future demand, and will include the necessary charging infrastructure to support an all-electric bus fleet
• Major capital investments in Trenton Transit Center, Lyndhurst Station, Elizabeth Station, Perth Amboy Station and others

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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