New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) unveiled a prototype of an expanded light rail vehicle that offers 50% more seating capacity than a standard light rail vehicle at a fraction of the cost, thanks to a public-private partnership that will enhance the overall customer experience on the busy Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
“Through a successful public-private partnership with the vehicle’s manufacturer, we will be piloting an expanded light rail vehicle on our system to test the feasibility of converting additional vehicles in our light rail fleet in order to increase capacity and ensure a comfortable ride for more customers,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson.
Since the launch of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail in 2000, ridership on the line has grown steadily. In the past seven years alone, passenger trips have doubled to more than 45,000 per day. To address the need for increased capacity, NJ Transit partnered with Kinkisharyo International LLC, the original vehicle manufacturer of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail’s existing fleet, and Twenty-First Century Rail Corp. to find an innovative, cost-effective solution that would not significantly impact the system’s infrastructure or require a costly investment in new railcars.
Kinkisharyo came up with a design for an expanded vehicle that adds two additional sections to the existing light rail vehicle, increasing the number of sections from three to five. The additional sections increase the car length by 37 feet and expand seating capacity from 68 to 102 seats, as well as provide additional standing room.
The expanded light rail vehicle will be placed into service starting July 4, and will be rotated to operate along the three segments of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system over the course of a six-month pilot program.