The COVID-19 pandemic saw an unprecedented drop in ridership on mass transit throughout the nation. During this time, NJ TRANSIT has continued its efforts to enhance the day-to-day experience for its customers with a variety of features ranging from a new rewards program and upgrades to its mobile app, to a refurbished waiting room at Penn Station New York.
With the new Map My Ride feature, NJ TRANSIT has added additional capabilities to its mobile app that allows customers to track locations of their buses and trains. With a simple tap on their mobile device, customers can 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 enhanced integration with NJT Rewards, where customers can earn points for deals and discounts at restaurants, retail outlets and entertainment venues throughout the state.
The latest mobile app upgrade 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.
With the “How Full is My Ride” feature on the mobile app, rail and bus customers can see how full their ride is before they step on board, allowing for an informed decision that optimizes their comfort level as they return to the system.
For Access Link customers, the mobile app provides a user-friendly interface for making, canceling and monitoring reservations. Access Link users are also able to update customer information and monitor the status of their EZ-Wallet payment accounts with just a few clicks on the app. EZ-Wallet allows customers to pre-pay their fares electronically.
The Access Link app is available for free download on iOS or Android devices via the App Store or Google Play.
On the transit service side, NJ TRANSIT restored nearly 60 trains just in time for the summer season and the expected increase in ridership for customers returning to the office as the economic reopening of the state continues. The changes include additional summer service on the North Jersey Coast Line (NJCL) Long Branch–Bay Head shuttle trains, as well as restoration of all weekend Gladstone Branch trains and the resumption of select weekday trains on the Northeast Corridor and Raritan Valley Line.
On weekend days, 12 North Jersey Coast Line trains have been added to the existing shuttle service between Long Branch and Bay Head, operating on the weekends through September 11th. This additional service was suspended last year due to COVID-19.
Restoration of weekend service on the Gladstone Branch includes the addition of 39 trains between Gladstone and Summit and ends the substitute bus service which had been operating since October 2018.
Bus service has resumed from Newark Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal to many of New Jersey’s family-friendly destinations, including Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari and Hurricane Harbor and the American Dream entertainment and retail complex. Also, rail service on the North Jersey Coast Line has resumed to Monmouth Park and will run on all live racing days.
The First Run blog, found at njtransit.com/firstrun, is where you can find all of the latest news and information on NJ TRANSIT’s customer experience upgrades.
NJ TRANSIT has also vastly upgraded customer communications by providing 24/7/365 messaging to alert customers about service impacts. Use the NJ TRANSIT mobile app to customize your travel alerts to receive push notifications, or sign up for the My Transit alert system on njtransit.com/mytransit which delivers travel advisories for your specific trip to your mobile device via email or text
New and improved ticket vending machines (TVM) are being installed throughout the system. The new TVMs have improved features making them quicker and easier for customers to use and are ADA accessible.
Customers will 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.
To expedite the fare collection on trains, handheld mobile devices are being used by crews. The mobile devices can scan and validate both paper tickets/passes and electronic tickets/passes, ultimately creating a more convenient and contactless customer experience. For bus customers, all buses are being equipped with onboard validators that scan and validate paper and electronic tickets.
By scanning all ticket types, NJ TRANSIT will have improved capability to collect and analyze data including fare collection and ridership trends. Electronic scanning also combats against the use of counterfeit paper tickets.
The experience at Penn Station New York has been significantly improved with a completely refurbished waiting room for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers on the 8th Avenue side of the station.
All the programs and much more can be found at njtransit.com.