When you take the light rail, commuter rail or bus in New Jersey, you’re using the New Jersey Transit Corporation system. Although passengers don’t always stop to think about the business that runs the transportation for the state, it’s a big business and its certainly had its shares of ups and downs. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the company behind the system and to know about their history, their struggles and the good that they’ve done. Here are 20 things that you didn’t know about New Jersey Transit to add to your knowledge about the public transportation provider.
1. New Jersey Transit serves three states
The transit is owned by the state of New Jersey. It serves the entire state with public transportation. NJT also provides transportation for some parts of Pennsylvania and New York State as well. It serves as a connector for commercial centers and employment locations for passengers who need to get to work, go shopping or conduct other types of business from New Jersey to the major cities of Philadelphia and New York City.
2. It’s the third largest public transportation system in the US
The New Jersey transit system covers a total of 5,325 square miles. Although it’s the third largest statewide public transportation system, it’s the largest in the state of New Jersey. The business behind the buses and rail does the purchasing for many of the state’s private operators and they perform the service of providing buses for these private operators so they can serve the areas of the state that the transit agency does not have established routes within.
3. The company was founded in July of 1979
The New Jersey Transit was officially established on July 17 of 1979. The state government mandated the development of New Jersey Transit because there were several urgent transportation problems within the state of New Jersey. The public was in need of a safe and organized system to provide a network of public transportation routes and this need spurred the passing of the Public Transportation Act of 1979. This gave the New Jersey Department of Transportation the legal support for founding the new company that would acquire the necessary vehicles and infrastructure to provide public transportation services, as well as to contract with private providers to ensure that all areas of New Jersey were served.
4. NJT started out with private bus services
When the New Jersey Transit was first formed, it made the acquisition of several private bus services and it also managed these services. The first acquisition that was made was the Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s bus service. The New Jersey Transit continued to acquire buses and routes from this company and at this time, they’ve obtained most of he bus services from the company, but not quite all of them. This was the largest provider in the state, but it was not the only private source that the NJT acquired. There were several other smaller ones.
5. NJT added rail service in 1983
It’s interesting to discover how the massive New Jersey Transit system put together their massive public transportation network over time. Conrail was founded in 1976 and it formed through a collection of several railroads that were having a tough time making it financially. The New Jersey Transit took over all of the commuter rail service within the state from this company. The only rail service that the transit was not in complete control of at this time was the privately owned Amtrak, and the Trans-Hudson owned by the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, the Delaware River Port Authority owned PATCO Speedline, the West Trenton line, the Trenton Line, two SEPTA Regional Rail lines and a few small tourist train lines.
6. NJT expanded the rail system in the 1990s
The New Jersey Transit expanded its rail system during the 1990s with the addition of the Midtown District service that took passengers to New York City. They also acquired new equipment at this time, which was a major expenditure. This was just the beginning. They added a new station at Newark Liberty International Airport in 2001. The expansion continued with the opening of the Secaucus Junction transfor station that connected an additional two parts of the system with transfer of passengers on the Hoboken Terminal trains to trains destined for Midtown Manhattan. This resulted in the reduction of travel time to the destination by 15 minutes, which was well-received and appreciated by passengers.
7. They took over an Amtrak service
Until 2005, Amtrak was one of the services that had not been acquired by New Jersey Transit. On October 31, the transit took over the New York to Philadelphia service that Amtrak provided called the Clocker route. By doing this, it added four new trains to the NJT schedule.
8. The New York City Transit was affected by natural disaster
When Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in October of 2012, it caused a lot of serious issues with the transportation system. Their rail operations center was damaged by the storm’s massive flooding impacts. There was as much as 8 feet of flood water in the center. An emergency generator that provided for essential backup became totally submerged in the water. The total damage from floodwater resulted in impacts to 257 rail cars and 65 locomotive engines. The damage was massive in the natural disaster.
9. Who is in charge of running the New Jersey Transit?
This is a question that is commonly asked about New Jersey Transit. It’s a state owned company and the people who are in charge of governing the operation are members of a seven group Board of Directors. Three of the board members are State officials and four of them are residents from the general public. The power to make decisions of governance of the New Jersey transit rests solely upon this Board of Directors, however; the governor of the state has the power to veto any decisions that are made by the board.
10. The New Jersey Transit operates a Police Department
The New Jersey Transit Police Department is referred to as the NJTPD. This unit is maintained to police the New Jersey Transit and the officers have authority to exercise police duties in all traffic and criminal matters throughout the state of New Jersey. They offer security and police services throughout the light rail stations, rail stations and bus terminals as well as all property that is owned by the New Jersey Transit within the state of New Jersey. There are approximately 250 officers hired within the New Jersey Transit Police Department.
11. New Jersey Transit ignored warnings about Hurricane Sandy
We learned that the damage that was caused by Hurricane Sandy was not surprising to some experts at Texas A&M Engineering Extensive Service. This agency had previously issued flood warnings which were issued. They released a report in December of 2013 that revealed they conducted an investigation adn discovered that the Transit ignored the flood warnings. They had a damage mitigation plan in place, but they didn’t follow it and as a result they experienced floded rais stations, washed out track and movement of bridge girders among other damages.
12. New Jersey Transit started projects to recover, repair and prevent
Since the damage done by the hurricane, the NJT has taken steps to restore what they can and replace the parts of the infrastructure that cannot be salvaged. In addition to this they are upgrading their systems and implementing new measures that will allow them to mitigate any future threats of damage to the system. They started in 2014 with the development of a new generator that is designed to be flood proof as one of the measures. They’re also working on the development of an electrical micro grid to serve the train service exclusively.
13. New Jersey Transit had a serious incident in 1985
There was a serious incident in December of 1985, which resulted in the injury of passengers. The accident was due to the application of a lubricant on the tracks that was intended to test wheels on the train. It caused a train to crash into a concrete bumper. The incident took place at the Hoboken, New Jersey Terminal. Fifty four passengers were injured in the accident but luckily, nobody lost their lives.
14. Two of their trains collided
Another serious incident that occurred with New Jersey Transit trains happened near Secaucus, New Jersey. At 8:40 in the morning on February 9 of 1996, a 1254 train ran a red signal. This resulted in a near head on collision with the westbound 1107 train. The 1254 was headed east when the collision took place. This was one of the most tragic events as both engineers of the two trains that collided were killed and a passenger on the 1254 train was also killed. Human error is what caused this fatal collision.
15. The New Jersey Transit rail had another fatal crash recently
On September 29, 2016, there was yet another fatal crash in the New Jersey Transit rail system. The incident occurred when a Pascack Valley Line #1614 commuter train didn’t slow down as it was nearing Hoboken Terminal. It was going too fast and it crashed. It went right through the bumper block and it crashed into the passenger concourse which, sadly at the time was populated with passengers waiting for the train. There were approximately 100 people injured and one person died as a result of this tragic incident.
16. New Jersey Transit provides billions of miles in travel
This is an interesting and fun fact that we discovered about the New Jersey Transit system. They operate over 700 rains in total and over 2,000 buses. The buses and rains rack up more than 3.5 billion miles every year through the system. Another astounding statistic revealed that the New Jersey Transit system makes more than 900,000 trips every weekday. We were not aware that they made just under a million trips throughout the state when you tally up all of the long and short trips that the services provide, and this is a daily figure. We were totally blown away by this fact.
17. Their revenue doesn’t come close to covering expenses
It’s really expensive to operate a comprehensive public transportation system. The next time you complain about the cost of using the New Jersey Transit system, think about this. For 2016 alone, they brought in a total of $1.1 billion in revenue. While this might sound like a lot, it really isn’t when you take into consideration that their expenses were $2.255 billion. They didn’t bring in half of what they spent, but the state and federal governments made up the rest for them.
18. They’re headquartered at One Penn Plaza East
In case you didn’t know, the New Jersey Transit has its headquarters at One Penn Plaza East in Newark, New Jersey. It takes a lot of workers to keep the massive system working to provide seamless public transportation to the masses. They employ almost 11,000 employees. This is a great boost for the local economy because it keeps people in work so they can contribute to the betterment of the economy by shopping and using local services.
19. New York Transit has three divisions
The massive public transportation system has split its operations into three divisions, or classes. Each of them is operated by legal businesses. The New Jersey Transit Bus Operations, Inc runs all of the buses. The Newark Light rail is a subsidiary of the New Jersey Transit Mercer, Inc company and they provide buses in Trenton and the New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, Inc is responsible for commuter rail services.
20. It’s dangerous to stand near the tracks
In February of 2019 a man was too close to the tracks near the Dover Station. A train from the Montclair-Boonton line struck him, but the lucky pedestrian survived the incident. When help arrived, the man had facial and a a few other injuries but he was conscious and was taken to the Morristown Medical Center to be treated for his injuries. There were 45 people aboard the train when the incident occurred and it caused a 60 minute delay in the train’s arrival schedule.