The new TVMs are described as being “in concert with [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie’s Scorecard initiative designed to improve the overall customer experience.”
In January 2012, NJT became the first transit agency in North America to introduce Bank Note Recycler (BNR) technology, which allows the machines to dispense change in the form of paper bills—ones, fives, tens and twenties—instead of dollar coins.
“We’ve heard from customers at our ‘We Are Listening’ forums that they dislike receiving large amounts of one-dollar coins as change,” said Weinstein. “We have listened to their concerns, and by equipping our ticket vending machines with this new technology, we will further improve the ticket purchasing experience for our customers while also reducing cash handling costs for NJT.” Once fully implemented, the technology is expected to generate an annual cost savings of $1.2 million per year.
Over the past year, NJT has been conducting the pilot program to test this technology at three terminals—one at New York Penn Station, one at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and another on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system. On Feb. 14, NJT completed final lab testing of its full production models, marking the conclusion of the pilot period.
“Evaluation of the pilot found it to be successful, particularly in terms of high customer satisfaction,” Weinstein said. “Dispensing paper bills also offers operational benefits, such as reducing the amount of service intervals required to keep terminals replenished with coins and bill notes, in keeping with Scorecard’s focus on efficiency and corporate accountability.”
Starting Feb. 14, NJT is expanding BNR technology to four terminals at Newark Penn Station, followed by an additional four machines on Feb. 15, and another four on Feb. 18. The remaining TVMs at Newark Penn Station will be equipped with BNR technology early in March. Deployment of this new technology will then continue with all TVMs at New York Penn Station, Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the George Washington Bus Terminal this spring. Equipping the remainder of its TVM fleet with BNR technology will be completed by the end of 2013.