During the current time of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a simple trip on public transportation can be nerve-racking. But passengers on the NJ Transit light rail now have one less worry. They will no longer need to use touch screen vending machines to purchase light rail tickets, due to a recent update on the NJ Transit Mobile App.
The new update from NJ Transit, along with Conduent Transportation, enables customers to make contactless purchases of one-way adult, child and senior/discount tickets on the River Line, Newark Light Rail, and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
“This update to our app is another way NJ Transit is making it easier and safer for customers to purchase tickets,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “This enhancement to our app means light rail customers can skip the ticket vending machines and buy daily tickets online for an expanded contactless experience.”
Previously, only monthly passes for light rail were available for purchase on the app.
How it works
NJ Transit’s three light rail lines operate on a proof of payment system.
Passengers can purchase physical tickets from a vending machine using cash or card and then get their ticket stamped by a validation machine.
On the app, digital tickets will become valid for travel beginning three minutes after activation.
Following that activation, valid tickets will then expire after 60 minutes on the HBLR and Newark Light Rail, and 75 minutes on the River LINE.
Digital and paper tickets must be purchased and activated prior to boarding any light rail vehicle and be displayed upon request.
Some passengers have simply hopped on the train for free, only to later be caught at a different station by fare enforcement officers who rove platforms and light rail vehicles at unspecified times to check if passengers have validated and purchased a ticket. If the passenger hasn’t done so or forgot to validate the ticket, they can be fined $75 for fare evasion.
According to NJ Transit, a recent survey of light rail customers shows that 91 percent of costumers indicated that they were “very” or “somewhat” interested in having the option to buy a single light rail ticket on the App.
NJ Transit encourages customers to minimize contact with surfaces and touch points and use the contactless experience provided through the NJ Transit Mobile App due to the pandemic.
But this isn’t the only way the transportation agency is trying to keep customers safe.
NJ Transit unveiled a new customer awareness campaign “SAFE NJ” which focuses on high visibility signage throughout the system to maintain awareness of recommended best practices.
The new “SAFE NJ” series reinforces the requirement to wear face coverings, be cognizant of distancing, and to help keep stations and vehicles free of discarded Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as used face coverings and gloves.
“The ‘SAFE NJ’ campaign provides simple and clear messaging to our customers to reinforce all of the recommended behaviors that will result in the cleanest and safest travel environment possible,” said Corbett. “There has been no higher priority for me than the health and safety of our customers and employees since the onset of the pandemic, and NJ TRANSIT has been working harder than ever as we prepare for our customers’ return to the system.”
NJ Transit also released recovery guidelines detailing the steps being taken to protect customers and employees focusing on six areas: Service, Cleanliness, Distancing, Communication, Protective Equipment & Public Safety, and Screening & Testing.
NJ Transit continues to monitor ridership, aligning service to manage capacity in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 125 and service levels will be guided by the latest health recommendations and policies.
The agency also continues enhanced cleaning efforts to including disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting stations including high touchpoints such as ticket vending machines, handrails and door handles.
Customers are also asked to remain cognizant of distancing throughout their entire journey and avoid loud talking or restrict phone conversations until after their trip, as these increase the expulsion range of droplets which may contain the virus.
NJ Transit has also made COVID-19 testing available to all employees and recommends that all customers who are feeling symptomatic should seek medical care, get tested, and avoid riding mass transit.