NJ Transit Riders Have Reason To Cheer Today [AUDIO]
Superstorm Sandy damaged dozens of locomotives and flooded hundreds of rail cars, but New Jersey Transit had a banner year nonetheless.
Testifying before the State Senate Budget Committee, NJ Transit executive director Jim Weinstein tells lawmakers his agency's on-time performance was historic last year and the vast majority of riders are happy with their commutes. Better yet, Weinstein says NJ Transit will not be asking you to dig deeper into your wallet this year.
"We're keeping fares stable," explains Weinstein. "For the fourth budget year in a row there will be no fare increase, fourth year in a row, no fare increase. We're maintaining fare stability by not only working harder (but) by working smarter."
Keeping Trains Running On Time
About two-thirds of the 70 locomotives damaged during Sandy have been repaired and returned to service says Weinstein, but less than half of the 272 rail cars that flooded during the Superstorm are back in service. The damaged rail equipment was been stored in a yard that flooded for the first time. Despite this bad situation, NJ Transit performed well according to the executive director.
$450 million in damages will be covered by insurance and the federal government estimates Weinstein. He says an extra $800 million will be spent on system improvements in the aftermath of Sandy.
"Despite the storm's widespread damage and destruction our railroad had the best year ever," explains Weinstein. "I repeat. Our railroad had the best year ever for on-time performance for the 2012 calendar year. New Jersey Transit train customers got to their destination on time more than 96-percent of the time. This is the highest figure in the 30-plus-year history of New Jersey Transit."
NJ Transit: You Like Them, You Really Like Them
Clearly, commuters like to get to work on time because they give NJ Transit high marks in the agency's latest survey, it's first since Sandy.
"Despite challenges presented by Sandy, NJ transit train, bus, light rail and access link customers continue to give us better and better marks," explains Weinstein. "Our regular customer satisfaction survey which we conduct quarterly shows that 79-percent, nearly four out of every five customers would recommend New Jersey Transit to a friend, relative or neighbor. This is the highest level since we began these surveys two years ago."