New Jersey Receives Federal Funds for Bus Fleet Upgrades, BRT

Today, New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano brought some good news to NJ Transit bus riders. At a press conference in Hoboken, the group announced that NJ Transit had been awarded $76 million in federal funds for bus projects in the state. The aid will be welcome in a state whose capital program investments have shifted away from transit over the past several years.

While the bulk of the money will be used to upgrade NJ Transit’s bus fleet, $2.6 million of it will go towards the implementation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the Route 55/42/676 corridor, running from Winslow Township through Gloucester and Camden, and into Philadelphia. Last month, the NJ Transit board approved the corridor plan, which was recommended through an alternatives analysis process that included significant public input. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, has also added the project to its long-range plan.

The BRT funds should lead to significant service improvements for South Jersey transit riders, and they can’t come soon enough. The corridor is often clogged with traffic [pdf], and with fairly limited high speed transit options in the region, the investment should decrease congestion by providing commuters with greater transportation choice. Full implementation of the BRT system is expected to be completed by 2020.

Just as the project forges a new path in South Jersey transportation policy, it also helps move the state’s transit system into the 21st century—the line will only be New Jersey’s second enhanced bus service, and will likely be its most robust when complete. The first, Newark’s Go Bus, was so popular that, soon after its launch, NJ Transit had to double service to meet demand. Given this early success, NJ Transit is right to look for cost-effective ways to improve service.

2 Comments on "New Jersey Receives Federal Funds for Bus Fleet Upgrades, BRT"

  1. Rob Durchola | July 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm |

    I agree that the South Jersey highway corridors proposed for BRT are very congested during peak hours. The question is whether the BRT project will make a significant impact.

    If one looks at the ridership projections for the chosen option. a number of things stand out:

    1. Only 9100 additional daily transit riders are anticipated. This is on the low side for a true BRT system of this length.

    2. Fully 81% of these riders appear to be diversions from other transit, including the yet to be built Camden-Glassboro light rail. If PATCO, the Glassboro light rail line, and existing bus services are anticipated to be overcapacity in the future, then diversion makes sense, otherwise, while users will benefit from a better trip, the construction and operating costs are quite high.

    3. This means only 19% of users will be diverted from automobiles (about 1800 trips). Given the continuing rapid growth in the South Jersey suburbs, this diversion will be absorbed rather quickly by new to the area auto users. Put another way, there needs to be a way to attract more auto users to the new BRT system to make it really worthwhile.

  2. Clark Morris | July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm |

    Given that shoulder lane operations have problems like being blocked by disabled vehicles and real usability only when the regular travel lanes are crawling (maximum speed on the Minnesota shoulder lanes is 35 mph), this looks like an expensive boondoggle.

    The Gobus is one of the weirder operations of New Jersey Transit. There is no off bus fare collection. It uses standard high floor buses. The 25 Gobus is added to a mix of locals and expresses on the same congested route. The 28 Gobus has been cut back with one of the branches being eliminated and the route number is confusing because it really isn’t related to the 28 Newark – Montclair (former 60).

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