Commuters throughout New Jersey are slowly starting to return to work outside the home, and NJ TRANSIT wants to reassure its customers that during the pandemic it has consistently been making strides in the way riders can safely, comfortably, and efficiently transition back to mass transit.
To allow customers to make informed travel decisions based on their comfort level, NJ TRANSIT has created the “How Full is My Ride” feature on the app so rail and bus customers can see how full their ride is before they board, optimizing rider safety and comfort level as they return to the system.
To avoid having to wait unnecessarily at bus stops, inside stations, or platforms, NJ TRANSIT has added additional capabilities to its mobile app that allows customers to track the locations of their buses and trains. With the Map My Ride feature, a simple tap on their mobile device, customers will be able to see and map the location of the next bus or train along with the arrival time to their location. The mobile app update also provides improved integration with NJT Rewards. While using NJT Rewards, customers can earn points for deals and discounts at restaurants, retail outlets, and entertainment venues throughout the state.
This upgrade to the mobile app also improves bus & light rail mobile app ticket compatibility with new bus on-board validators and light rail platform validators. Barcodes on mobile app tickets have been moved to the top of the ticket, which makes it easier for customers who present their mobile devices in portrait orientation when displaying their digital tickets and passes. This improves a customer’s experience and accelerates boarding time during interactions with scanners.
Access Link also has an app that is available for free download on iOS or Android devices via the App Store or Google Play. The mobile app provides a user-friendly interface for Access Link customers, where they can make, cancel, or monitor reservations. Access Link users are also able to update their information and monitor the status of their EZ-Wallet payment accounts with just a few app clicks. EZ-Wallet allows customers to pre-pay their fares electronically.
To provide enhanced transportation options to their customers and avoid delays and excess congestion as commuters begin to travel for work or leisure, NJ TRANSIT restored nearly 60 trains for the summer season. The North Jersey Coast Line (NJCL) Long Branch–Bay Head shuttle trains have seen an increase in summer service, as well as the restoration of all weekend Gladstone Branch trains and the resumption of select weekday trains on the Northeast Corridor and Raritan Valley Line.
Throughout weekends during the summer through early September, 12 NJCL trains have been added to the existing shuttle service between Long Branch and Bay Head. NJ TRANSIT had temporarily suspended the additional service last year due to COVID-19 but brought it back now as beachgoers feel more comfortable with travel. Weekend service was also restored on the Gladstone Branch which includes the addition of 39 trains between Gladstone and Summit and ends the substitute bus service which had been operating pre-pandemic.
Bus service also resumed to Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor and the American Dream entertainment and retail complex from Newark Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal as New Jersey families return to some of their favorite fun-filled destinations. For horse racing aficionados, rail service on the NJCL has resumed to Monmouth Park and will run on all live racing days.
NJ TRANSIT has also updated its policy on personal vehicles to now allow e-bikes, e-scooters, and hoverboards under the existing bicycle regulations, facilitating first-mile/last-mile travel options for customers.
The new Transit to Trails program also promotes healthy outdoor summer activities for customers. Potential park visitors can access an online map application that easily identifies over 60 national, state, and county parks throughout New Jersey that are accessible by public transportation.
As riders emerge from the lockdown, it is always important that they be able to access information about their rides. As such, NJ TRANSIT has vastly improved upon its customer communications by providing 24/7/365 messaging to alert customers about service impacts. Riders can use the NJ TRANSIT mobile app to customize their travel alerts to receive push notifications or sign up for the My Transit alert system on njtransit.com/mytransit which delivers travel advisories for the customer-specific trip to your mobile device via email or text.
While riders were away, NJ TRANSIT also installed new and improved ticket vending machines (TVM) throughout the system. The new TVMs have improved features making them ADA accessible, quicker, and user friendly.
To minimize contact with frequently used surfaces, customers will also have the capability to purchase tickets using contactless cards and mobile wallet applications and will no longer need to insert debit/credit cards into the machine. The machines also have improved functionality, with faster printers and new displays providing customers with important travel information and advisories.
Safety, Reliability and Convenience are the new words at NJ TRANSIT. For fare collection on trains, conductors will be using handheld mobile devices for added convenience and protection. These mobile devices can scan and validate both paper tickets/passes and electronic tickets/passes, ultimately creating a contactless and improved customer experience. All buses are also being equipped with onboard validators that scan and validate paper and electronic tickets.
By creating a system that scans all types of tickets, NJ TRANSIT has drastically improved its capability to collect and analyze data including fare collection and ridership trends. This advancement in technology enabling electronic ticket validation also combats against the fraudulent use of counterfeit paper tickets.
Penn Station New York visitors are also in for a pleasant surprise as the waiting room for
NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers on the 8th Avenue side of the station has been significantly upgraded for improved customer comfort.
Interested riders should visit the First Run blog, found at njtransit.com/firstrun, where all of the latest news and information on NJ TRANSIT’s customer experience upgrades can be found.
All the latest on all that NJ TRANSIT has done to improve the customer experience, and much more, can be found at njtransit.com/progress.