NJ Transit eases strain of gas prices

New Jersey Transit’s rails, trains and buses have always been convenient ways for students to travel to New York, visit friends or go home. But studies suggest transit use offers many more benefits to the economy, environment and way of life than may be commonly known.

A study conducted by the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at the University concluded New Jersey is among the nation’s leaders in transit use.

But public transportation in New Jersey is not as commonly used today as it was over a decade ago.

Since the growth of automobile use prior to 1995, the transit industry struggled to show the public its true benefits, according to the study.

But public transit experienced a rebound between 1995 and 2005, and funding for transit increased.

In 2005, the amount of funds allocated for transit doubled from 1995, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Direct state operation and capital support for NJ Transit totaled $702.5 million in 2005, which is less than a gallon of gas per passenger each year.

During this time, New Jersey’s transit growth nearly doubled the nation’s rate.

Taylor Brandreth, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, is a frequent user of NJ Transit services.

“I use the train up here about four or five times a semester basically to go home or to go to New York City,” Brandreth said. “Everything around here is really close together. We’re so close to the city, and it’s so much more alluring to go there instead of staying where we are. Public transportation really helps a lot.”

Some students may find convenience in NJ Transit being so close to campus, but according to the report, it attracts transit users in New Jersey other than students as well.

New Jersey’s population density ranks first in the nation with 1,175 residents per square mile and has the highest daily volume on its highways.

Bergen County, the most densely populated county in the state, has a population larger than six other states.

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