Murphy turns attention to overcrowded buses, offering plans with new jobs, more routes

Gov. Phil Murphy continues his emphasis on transportation for commuters Monday morning in Hoboken.

This time, however, the issue was buses, not trains.

Murphy, speaking at New Jersey Transit’s Bus Central Maintenance Facility in Newark, highlighted some of the initiatives for buses in his budget proposal. And he highlighted the fact the initiatives will help create jobs.

The investments in NJ Transit bus service include:

  • The addition of 40 more budgeted operator positions.
  • Targeted relief of overcrowding on specific bus routes with the fastest growing ridership, including Bergen County (River Road corridor, including bus routes 156, 158 and 159), Hudson County (Hoboken bus routes, including 123 and 126) and Union County (bus routes 113 and 114)
  • On-time performance enhancements encompass the adjustment of running times with additional buses where needed to better sync bus arrivals with scheduled time points, resulting in an improved customer experience at the bus stop level.
  • Additional flexibility to mitigate effects of external factors such as road construction projects.

The initiatives are part of a request for an additional $242 million in spending in Murphy’s 2019 budget. Officials said it’s the first time in a decade that the budget will specifically target relief for overcrowded bus lines.

“For far too long, NJ Transit bus customers have had to face some harsh challenges in their daily commute to and from work,” Murphy said. “Today, I am pleased to announce we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to turn NJT around with improvements that will minimize delays, alleviate overcrowding and invest in workforce capital to support bus services and enhanced customer service.”

New Jersey Transit Chair and acting Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti emphasized the importance of bus use.

“Investing in New Jersey Transit is more than investing in rail,” she said. “More than half a million commuters use NJ Transit buses each weekday, and these initiatives will help improve on-time performance and provide added flexibility for our bus commuters.”

NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said all aspects of transportation are important for business commuters.

“Thanks to the governor’s focus on transportation, the resources in this budget allow us to address issues in a number of areas for our bus customers, who make up the largest segment of NJ Transit’s operations,” Corbett said. “Providing targeted additional capacity and improved performance is the foundation for an improved customer experience.”

Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Dan Benson (D-Hamilton Square) agreed.

“With this announcement, Gov. Murphy is making good on his commitment to fix NJ Transit,” Benson said. “By addressing overcrowding on popular bus routes, he takes another step in improving the quality of life for our daily commuters.”