Menendez, Sherrill, NJ TRANSIT Announce $17M to Expand Commuter Bus Service in North Jersey

Menendez, Sherrill, NJ TRANSIT Announce $17M to Expand Commuter Bus Service in North Jersey

New buses will increase capacity, reduce wait times on dozens of overcrowded routes in Essex, Hudson, Bergen Counties



MAPLEWOOD, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member on the Senate’s transit subcommittee, and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.-11) today announced the awarding of $17,275,000 in federal funding to enhance commuter bus service, expand capacity and reduce wait times for riders on dozens of overcrowded New Jersey Transit routes in Essex, Hudson and Bergen Counties. 

NJT will use the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funding to purchase up to 25 new, 60-foot, articulated buses that will accommodate growing ridership in North Jersey. They made the announcement with NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett at the Hilton Bus Garage in Maplewood, one of three bus depots that will receive the new buses.

“This investment will have a real impact for the people of Northern New Jersey, said Sen. Menendez. “With larger buses, fewer riders will be stuck out in the cold, waiting for a bus or watching full ones pass them by. They’ll also be more likely to get a seat than endure their entire commute standing up. Newer, better buses mean fewer breakdowns and delays for workers, students, and parents trying to get home to their families at the end of a long day. And fewer delays and smoother rides mean an even greater incentive for New Jerseyans to leave their cars at home and rely on mass transit. This grant is yet another building block in our efforts to provide New Jerseyans with the safe, modern, and efficient mass transit they deserve.” 

“More than half a million New Jersey residents commute on NJ Transit buses each week,” said Rep. Sherrill. “This announcement represents a critical federal investment in our transit system, and will improve the quality of life for residents in my community. We will continue to work in Congress to bring federal money back to our state for all of our pressing transportation infrastructure needs, including the Gateway Tunnel and the Portal Bridge projects.”

The new buses are in addition to the 183 new cruiser buses and 85 new articulated buses already scheduled to arrive next year, according to NJ TRANSIT, that, along with the hiring of 650 new bus operators since 2018, will result in nearly 2,000 more passenger trips each weekday, or greater than a half-a-million annually. 

“Out of more than 300 nationwide applications for these funds, NJ TRANSIT is one of only seven applicants to receive the highest award,” said NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “I’m proud of that. Even more important: The buses we’re buying with this grant – combined with our hiring of more than 650 new Bus Operators since January 2018 and nearly 270 additional buses scheduled to join our fleet next year – will result in nearly 2,000 more passenger trips each weekday. On behalf of everyone at NJ TRANSIT, I’d like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Senator Menendez, for all of his efforts to help us secure this critically important grant, which will result in significant quality of life improvements for bus customers throughout northern New Jersey.  I am also grateful for the ongoing FTA support given to NJ TRANSIT bus and rail.”

The new articulated buses will address the increasing need for additional capacity during the morning and evening commuting hours. The standard, 40-foot buses can accommodate 57 riders while the articulated buses will be able to accommodate 99 riders, including 59 seated and 40 standing.

Many of the bus lines that service Bergen, Essex and Hudson Counties are already overcapacity, often at standing-room-only for riders. According to a NJ TRANSIT study, on a single day in May 2018, more than 34 percent of the total NJ TRANSIT bus trips on the routes from these communities into the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan were at full- or overcapacity, denying thousands of passengers a seat during their commute.

The new buses will be deployed to the Hilton Bus Garage in Maplewood, the Big Tree Bus Garage in Nutley, and the Fairview Bus Garage. All three garages already have the necessary equipment and personnel in place to maintain the larger, 60-foot buses.


Menendez, Sherrill, NJ TRANSIT Announce $17M to Expand Commuter Bus Service in North Jersey


“New Jersey’s transit systems serve as vital arteries for our entire region that are critical for keeping commuters and our economy moving,” said Senator Cory Booker. “Strategic federal investments in our state’s bus system will put time back in the hands of residents while creating jobs and strengthening our neighborhoods. I am committed to continuing to secure the funding New Jersey needs to modernize our transit system across the state and improve service for our commuters.”

“One of my most important responsibilities as a Member of Congress is to ensure that our communities have the resources they need to maintain or upgrade their infrastructure,” said Congressman Albio Sires (N.J.-08), a member of the House Transportation Committee. “This $17.275 million grant award will go a long way towards helping NJ Transit finance the expansion of North Jersey’s important public transportation network." 

“I am delighted to hear about the $17 million grant awarded to the New Jersey Transit System for improved commuter bus service in Bergen, Essex and Hudson Counties,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), a member of the House Transportation Committee. “This grant will help upgrade buses, add more bus routes, and hire more bus drivers. As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I am always looking for ways to make it easier for my constituents and all Americans to get to work and around their neighborhoods. Public transportation is a right that we need to support in every way possible.”  

The grant is being funded through USDOT’s Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary program, one of the transit programs that fall under the jurisdiction of Sen. Menendez’s Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee. This discretionary grant is on top of the more than $600 million per year in annual transit funding that Sen. Menendez helped secure for New Jersey through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that was passed and signed into law in 2015.