More folks are headed back to in-person work and as COVID-19 metrics improve and vaccination distribution continues to climb, more individuals are interested in getting out this summer to enjoy everything the New Jersey coast has to offer.

So nearly 60 additional NJ Transit trains are hitting the rails throughout the Garden State, the agency announced with a press conference on Tuesday at the Long Branch station.

Among the many changes that begin rolling out on June 6 is the addition of 12 North Jersey Coast Line trains that will provide shuttle service between Long Branch and Bay Head on weekend days through September 11. This service was temporarily suspended last year due to the pandemic.

"We'll also be restoring full weekend train service for our Gladstone Branch with the reinstatement of 39 trains," said NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett.

Routes between Gladstone and Summit have utilized substitute bus service on the weekends since October 2018.

Weekday restorations by the agency will increase the number of trains heading in and out of both Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. Service reductions were implemented in August 2020.

According to Corbett, NJ Transit has seen a steady increase in ridership over the past month or so. On the weekends, he said, ridership is up 40-50% compared to last year. Daily, the increase is around 30%.

Corbett noted the agency has a full roster of locomotive engineers. More than 100 have joined NJ Transit's ranks since 2018.

The schedule restorations are part of NJ Transit's recently announced "While You've Been Away" campaign, which aims to inform customers of all of the improvements made to the system during the pandemic.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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