Transit Briefs: NJT, NYMTA, SANDAG, TTC

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
At New Jersey Transit, a commuter rail locomotive and two buses are specially wrapped to with graphics celebrating prominent African Americans and their contributions to American history. (Photograph Courtesy of NJT via Facebook)

At New Jersey Transit, a commuter rail locomotive and two buses are specially wrapped to with graphics celebrating prominent African Americans and their contributions to American history. (Photograph Courtesy of NJT via Facebook)

New Jersey Transit (NJT) celebrates Black History Month with specially wrapped buses and commuter rail locomotive. Also, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advances its no-standing zone pilot program to protect subway conductors; San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) will reassess route options for the Airport Transit Connection project; and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) says investments in new frontline staff are improving customer satisfaction and safety.


(Photograph Courtesy of NJT via Facebook)

On Feb. 26, NJT CEO Kevin S. Corbett (pictured, center) joined NJT Board Chair and New Jersey Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Francis K. O’Connor (right) and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Alison Banks-Moore (left) to unveil a newly wrapped ALP45-DP commuter rail locomotive featuring Black History graphics at Newark Penn Station. Two buses were also wrapped with similar graphics and have been in service for the past few weeks.

The wraps highlight and celebrate prominent African Americans and their contributions to American history, according to the transit agency, which said they were designed in collaboration with its Black and African American Company Employee Resource Group (B.R.I.D.G.E.S.) and made possible through a sponsorship from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

(Photograph Courtesy of NJT)

“NJ Transit is honored to collaborate with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey in commemorating Black history and acknowledging the many remarkable achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s past,” Francis O’Connor said. “These specially designed wraps symbolize our shared commitment to diversity, inclusion, and recognition of the invaluable contributions African Americans have made to our society.”

“NJ Transit joined with the rest of the nation this past month in honoring the many historical contributions of notable African Americans in recognition of Black History Month,” said Kevin Corbett. “Through this sponsorship with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, we are able to reinforce our agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our service.”

“Black History Month celebrates the unique and extraordinary ways that African Americans have shaped our history, influenced our culture, and improved our lives,” said Ulises Diaz, Horizon’s Senior Vice President for Government and Community Affairs. “Partnering with NJ Transit on this special campaign will help raise awareness and promote the kinds of actions needed to make New Jersey’s communities and people even stronger and healthier.”


(Photograph Courtesy of NYMTA)

MTA has installed high-visibility, four-foot tall vertical stanchions made of flexible rubberized material on the portions of the New York City Transit (NYCT) subway platform at the 125 Street (4,5,6) station; the stanchions are positioned adjacent to the train conductor cabs (see above).

The effort builds on the agency’s no-standing zone pilot program, which began last summer with platform decals to help eliminate rider assaults on subway conductors.  

“In some instances, the floor stripes faded and lost some of their visibility,” NYCT Senior Vice President Subways Demetrius Crichlow said. “We hope that adding additional visibility elements create a more well-defined zone of safety and security around our hard-working subway conductors to ensure they can do their work without fear of being attacked on the platform while they simply try to do their jobs.”

According to MTA, the pilot program will be monitored over the next few months and once results are determined, NYCT may install the stanchions in other stations.

MTA said the new installation is part of a larger effort to advance safety upgrades across the NYCT system using a combination of physical infrastructure and increased police presence in stations and on trains. MTA recently celebrated a new plan to convert all 150,000 light fixtures in the subway system to brighter, more illuminating LEDs, increasing safety in stations and on platforms, and has installed platform barriers at the 191 Street (1) Station in Washington Heights in an effort to prevent track intrusions.


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has advised SANDAG to reassess the route options it is considering for the long-discussed Airport Transit Connection project, which will establish a direct transit link to the San Diego International Airport, SANDAG reported Feb. 23, according to Fox 5 KUSI News. The options should be pared down using updated, post-pandemic ridership and travel behavior data before moving to the environmental review process, SANDAG said at its Board of Directors meeting. This will help to better position the project for state and federal funding, and could extend the project’s timeline by three years.

Fox 5 KUSI News reported that a multi-year study initiated in 2019 and presented to the Board in 2023 (see above) included “over a dozen routes for three types of direct travel from to and from the airport” and concluded that “an aerial people mover was the best and ‘financially feasible’ option.” This analysis, SANDAG staff said, was “based on growth forecasts from 2018, before the pandemic hit.”

To expedite project delivery, SANDAG said it would now be combining the state and federal environmental processes going forward. Public outreach will continue in the coming months to help define the alternatives that will be part of the environmental analysis, which is now slated to kick off next year, with the goal of having a draft report by the end of 2027.

San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo said at the Board meeting that “[s]mall delays to get the analysis right are reasonable, particularly when funding partners like the FTA say they want it, but really on its face this is a multi-year delay that puts us at great risk of funding expiring.” According to Fox 5 KUSI News, Campillo “specifically pointed to dollars from airlines at the airport and the federal government through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as among those the county could miss out on given the updated timeline. Inflation, he added, could also make the project a more costly endeavor.”

He pointed out that “[s]taff says the delay was intended to reduce the alternatives in the EIR and increase the competitiveness for state and federal dollars. But my read of the staff report is that this potential benefit of this delay could be significantly outweighed by near certain disadvantages of the delay,” according to Fox 5 KUSI News.

SANDAG staff members said “they do not view the change as a delay but a ‘different approach’ to streamline the arduous environmental review by paring down the number of technical studies the planning agency would have to conduct,” according to the media outlet. “They also reiterated that the transit connection remains a top priority project for the agency.”

Coleen Clementson noted that SANDAG wants “the process to be shorter, (but) we want to also make sure that we are following all the rules so that we really have a fundable project at the end of the day,” according to Fox KUSI News. “I just want you to know that you have the commitment of this team,” Clementson said. “We want this done and we think this is the most effective way to do it.” She added that “she hopes to bring status updates to the board more frequently in the coming months,” the media outlet said.


(Photograph Courtesy of TTC)

“Newly released data shows significant improvements in TTC customer satisfaction, particularly in safety, following investments in new customer-facing personnel,” TTC reported Feb. 26. Last September, TTC announced it would improve the visible presence of staff throughout the system, by hiring 130 customer service agents and 30 supervisors at key subway stations, and on the bus and streetcar networks.

According to the transit agency, the latest findings show that since October 2023, customer satisfaction with safety on TTC has increased seven points (61%), with overall satisfaction among subway users up five points (71%). During the same period, the rate of offenses against customers in subway stations decreased by 11%, with a 10% decline across the system. Since January 2023, the rate of offenses against customers has shown an overall decline of 24%.

According to TTC, the data further reveals that since last October, 69% of customers reported ease of receiving assistance when needed, marking a five-point improvement. Additionally, satisfaction with staff helpfulness scores rose by six points to 65%, and overall pride in the TTC increased by five points to 61%.

TTC every month surveys 500 customers, measuring overall satisfaction levels across all modes, as well as specific customer satisfaction aspects, such as safety, comfort, cleanliness, staff helpfulness, information, and ease of use. Findings are published monthly in the TTC CEO Report (download below) and presented to the TTC Board.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,