By: Richard L. Smith
NJ TRANSIT continues to make strides in its sustainability efforts, as the Board of Directors approved the acquisition of 19 battery electric vans funded by federal resources.
A significant portion of these battery electric vans will be distributed to community-based services in Essex, Middlesex, and Somerset counties, as well as NJ TRANSIT's Access Link service, which caters to individuals with disabilities.
Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will employ eight of these vans for a groundbreaking pilot program: an on-demand micro-transit shuttle service along the Route 9 corridor in Monmouth County.
Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair, expressed the agency's commitment to zero-emission vehicles and community partnerships, stating, "The purchase of electric vans through federal dollars continues our commitment to transition to zero-emission vehicles across our fleet and with our community partners.
NJ TRANSIT is proud to offer sustainable options to help enhance mobility for seniors and people with disabilities throughout the state."
These battery-electric vans are integral to modernizing New Jersey's transportation network and aligning with the state's sustainability goals. Kevin S. Corbett, NJ TRANSIT President & CEO, emphasized their role in supporting accessible transportation for all New Jerseyans, saying, "This purchase not only helps our local communities transition to electric vehicles to support the state's sustainability goals, but it also advances our mission to provide accessible transportation for all New Jerseyans."
NJ TRANSIT will procure these 19 battery electric vans through a Michigan Department of Transportation procurement.
The vans will include lifts to facilitate transportation for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, with a budget not exceeding $3,800,000, plus a contingency of five percent, subject to fund availability.
Federal funding sources include the Federal Transit Administration's Section 5310 program, the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality programs.
Counties across New Jersey will benefit from this initiative. Essex County will receive three electric vans, Middlesex County will receive one, Somerset County will be allocated two, and Access Link will benefit from four electric vans.
Distribution of one vehicle remains under the grant selection process, offering opportunities for other agencies to opt for eco-friendly transportation solutions that enhance mobility for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, job seekers, and rural residents.
Moreover, NJ TRANSIT's innovative approach includes the use of eight of these battery-electric vans to explore the feasibility of operating an on-demand micro-transit shuttle service.
This service aims to efficiently connect lower-demand residential areas with mainline commuter bus corridors.
The micro transit service will offer point-to-point transportation within two specified zones along the U.S. Route 9 corridor in Monmouth County, with potential expansions and adjustments based on post-implementation results and insights.
This initiative marks the first time NJ TRANSIT has acquired and utilized battery electric vehicles as part of its Local and Community-based Transportation Programs, furthering its commitment to sustainability and enhancing transportation accessibility for all state residents.