New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) began operation of its first “stretch” cars last week on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line as a part of a six-month trial period. If the new cars are added permanently to the system, it would increase rider capacity by 50%.
The new stretch cars are 37 ft longer than the current NJ Transit cars, giving them the space for a 50% increase from 68 passengers to 102. NJ Transit purchased the cars through a public-private partnership (P3) with Twenty-First Century Rail Corp.
Over the course of the six-month trial period, NJ Transit will rotate the cars through each of its three light-rail lines. If they deem the trail to be a success, the agency plans to deploy 26 additional stretch cars; they would then account for approximately half of NJ Transit’s total rail fleet.
According to NJ Transit, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line carries an average of 47,000 riders each day. Public feedback collected via the agency’s recent Scorecard Initiative cited overcrowding as the number one complaint, which sparked the agency to try out the new stretch cars.