NJT: How Full is Your Ride?

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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New green, yellow and red color-coded icons on New Jersey Transit’s mobile app indicate, respectively, light, medium and heavy ridership conditions on the agency’s trains and buses. NJT said it has launched this new feature in a pilot program “that allows rail and bus customers to see how full their ride is before they step on board, making a better-informed personal decision that optimizes their comfort level as they return to the system.”

For commuter trains on NJT’s Raritan Valley, Atlantic City and Morris & Essex Lines, loading data is collected automatically from new handheld devices used by NJT crews to scan and validate tickets and passes. For the agency’s other rail lines (Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, Atlantic City, Main, Bergen, Pascack Valley, Montclair-Boonton and Meadowlands Lines, customers will be able to crowdsource this information by voluntarily inputting data to alert fellow customers how full the train is. Crowdsourcing will be gradually phased out as NJT crews on the remaining rail lines receive the new handheld ticket validation devices. All collected crowdsourcing data “is anonymized and used only to provide estimates of passenger volume,” NJT says.

To view rail information, customers access DepartureVision on the NJT mobile app. On NJT buses, automated onboard passenger counting technology collects loading data. Bus customers use the MyBus feature to view onboard ridership conditions with icons and color coding on both the NJT mobile app and website.

“This innovative feature on our mobile app is yet another tool for customers to make informed travel decisions as they return to our system,” said NJT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “It also serves as another example of how we continue to invest in technology to improve all aspects of the travel experience for our customers.”

“The investments we have been making in technology over the past two years are showing tangible improvements to the customer experience,” said NJT Chief Financial Officer William Viqueira. “By leveraging those investments, we are putting more information into the hands of our customers and empowering them to make informed decisions on their travel plans.”

“We are using technology to transform data into real and meaningful information for our customers,” said NJT Chief Digital Information Officer Lookman Fazal. “Technology is the key to developing new product features such as this as we continue to modernize NJ Transit and enhance the customer experience.”

“We live in a world ever more reliant on technology,” said NJT Chief Technology Officer Faisal Jameel. “Customers have come to expect easy access to information, and that is what we are delivering through product enhancements such as this.”

MTA Long Island Rail Road riders can also access loading data, through the railroad’s TrainTime app. The mechanism is different than NJT’s, as sensors determine how many riders are on trains at any given time, with data is securely transmitted to the app in real time.

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