NEW JERSEY — Beginning Monday, July 6, NJ TRANSIT will operate full weekday service for rail and light rail providing added capacity to improve distancing on board vehicles, which aligns with “The Road Back”, New Jersey’s roadmap for restoring economic health through public health. Bus service has been operating on a regular weekday schedule since Monday, June 8.
Executive Order 125 became effective in early April and requires NJ TRANSIT to limit occupancy by passengers at 50 percent of the stated maximum vehicle capacity on all buses, trains and light rail vehicles, in addition to the requirement for customers and personnel on board vehicles to wear a face covering. NJ TRANSIT is closely monitoring ridership on all vehicles regarding compliance with these capacity restrictions and will be working closely with the Administration to adjust those limits if necessary.
“We’re pleased to announce the full restoration of our rail and light service. We’re doing it proactively while ridership is still only at approximately twenty percent of pre-COVID-19 levels,” NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett said. “It’s critical that we stay ahead of the demand to maximize the opportunity for social distancing while we ensure that we continue providing the cleanest and safest travel environment for our customers and employees.”
NJ TRANSIT last week released recovery guidelines detailing the critical steps being taken to protect customers and employees during the reopening of New Jersey and the region, as we prepare for customers to return to the transit system. These guidelines are also consistent with New Jersey’s “The Road Back” plan.
In addition to NJ TRANSIT taking any and all measures to continue to make the system as safe and possible, the agency is reinforcing a “shared responsibility” approach that relies on customers and employers doing their part as well. The plan focuses on NJ TRANSIT’s commitment to six areas: Service, Cleanliness, Distancing, Communication, Protective Equipment & Public Safety and Screening & Testing.
During the pandemic, NJ TRANSIT has been dedicated to maintaining a clean and safe transit system for all customers and employees. The guidelines include the extensive measures NJ TRANSIT has already taken, will continue to take, and is committed to implementing. In addition to NJ TRANSIT’s responsibilities, the guidelines also provide clear and simple actions that customers and employers should take to contribute to successful mitigation.
Service: NJ TRANSIT will continue to monitor ridership, aligning service to manage capacity in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 125. Throughout our recovery, NJ TRANSIT service levels will be guided by the latest health recommendations and policies. To inform our operational decisions as we prepare for our customers’ return, we have been actively leveraging data, tools and regional information sources to monitor and identify projected trends in ridership and customer behavior. This comprehensive trend analysis will continue throughout the recovery period to ensure our recovery plans will remain flexible, responsive and data-driven.
Changes in service will be announced using all available communications channels, including Twitter, Facebook, the NJ TRANSIT Mobile App and njtransit.com.
Cleanliness: NJ TRANSIT continues enhanced cleaning efforts to include disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours. The enhanced cleaning and disinfecting regimen in stations will continue and includes additional disinfecting of frequent customer touchpoints such as ticket vending machines, handrails and door handles. Customers are being asked to minimize contact with surfaces and touchpoints and use touchless payment through the NJ TRANSIT Mobile App.
Distancing: Customers should remain cognizant of distancing throughout their entire journey whenever possible. In addition, customers should avoid loud talking or restrict phone conversations until after their trip, as these increase the expulsion range of droplets which may contain the virus.
Employers can also play a significant role by helping flatten the peak travel curves and spread ridership more evenly over the entire service day by encouraging employees to continue to work from home if they can, or stagger work hours and work days.
Personal Protective Equipment and Public Safety: NJ TRANSIT will maintain the requirement for all public-facing employees to wear face coverings at all times when performing their duties. Customers are required to do the same under Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 125, which states that customers must wear face coverings while on public transit vehicles (e.g. buses, trains, light rail vehicles and Access Link vehicles). NJ TRANSIT has extended this requirement to the entire journey to also include all NJ TRANSIT-owned public spaces (e.g. stairs, platforms and stations), regardless of physical distance.
Communication: NJ TRANSIT is launching a “SAFE NJ” signage and messaging campaign, which will include prominent, easy-to-understand graphics and signs throughout stations and vehicles, to provide easy-to-understand instructions to encourage customers to model ideal transit behaviors.
Testing: NJ TRANSIT has made COVID-19 testing available to all employees at several locations throughout north, central and south Jersey. Customers who are feeling symptomatic should seek medical care, including scheduling a COVID-19 test at one of the numerous testing sites throughout the state, and should avoid riding mass transit. New Jersey testing sites are available at covid19.nj.gov.
The complete list of “Your Ride to Recovery” guidelines can at njtransit.com/recovery.