NJ Transit seeks to increase ridership with vacation and NFL ticket deals

As commuter ridership to and from work is delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a new trend has emerged for public transportation – more people are taking trains and buses during weekends and at peak times except shuttle.

NJ Transit officials on Tuesday announced four new ticket discount promotions and extended Family Super Saver fares to attract some of the passengers and discretionary commuters to weekday trips.

Promotions include reduced rates for Newark Airport and for NFL games at MetLife Stadium. You can also buy one, get one for free, and free round-trip tickets for new NJ Transit smartphone app accounts.

The promotions come as NJ Transit officials have said they are adjusting to changing ridership due to the coronavirus pandemic and changing commuter schedules as employees divide time between remote work at home and return to work.

“Travel patterns are different as we come out of the pandemic. As we see ridership is 50% of pre-pandemic weekday levels… we are seeing faster growth in off-peak and weekend ridership, ”said Jim Sincaglia, General Manager of Rail Operations acting.

Average weekend train ridership is around 80% of pre-COVID levels on recent weekends, while it reaches or approaches 100% of pre-COVID levels on some trains, said Jim Smith, a door – spoken by NJ Transit.

Interstate bus service is approaching 75% of pre-pandemic levels, with ridership in New York City of around 65%, he said. Light rail transit ridership has increased to more than 70% of the number before COVID.

NJ Transit added 50 more trains over the weekend during last month’s fall schedule change, restoring 39 Gladstone trainsets and adding 14 new trains from the Bergen mainline, Sincaglia said.

The fare promotions build on NJ Transit’s “While You’ve Been Away” campaign to inform passengers of improvements made during the pandemic and encourage them to return, Smith said.

“This is the first time that we have offered this type of promotions on the mobile app and we are delighted to offer these great savings to customers over the holiday season,” he said.

Passengers who open a new NJ Transit smartphone app account or those who have not used the app for six months or more and use it to purchase tickets will receive free round-trip tickets. The offer is redeemable with the code TRYNJT and 5,000 round trips will be offered every week, with a new lot offered every Monday.

Want to take a friend with you? There is a “Buy One, Get One” round-trip ticket offer during the weeks of December 13-19 and December 27-January 2 between the same points of origin and destination. From December 13 to 19, use code GIVING, from December 27 to January 2, use code FRIEND to take advantage of the offer. All tickets expire the Monday following the promotional week.

Football fans can enjoy a 50% discount on round-trip train tickets from any origin to MetLife Stadium (Meadowlands) for every NFL game in December and January. There is a limit of four round-trip tickets and different codes apply for each Giants and Jets home game between December 5 and January 2, which can be found online here. All tickets expire January 10.

Take a flight out of town? Use the code FLYNJT for a 20% discount on round-trip train tickets to Newark Airport through January 4. There is a limit of four tickets or two round trips per account and the code can only be used once per account.

NJ Transit is also offering sliding discounts on train tickets for the Army-Navy game on December 11 at MetLife Stadium. Passengers can get a 20% discount by entering the code ARMY20 or NAVY20 when purchasing a ticket through the app before December 1. From December 1 to 5, passengers can benefit from a 10% discount by entering ARMY10 or NAVY10. Codes can be used when purchasing tickets using the free NJ Transit smartphone app.

Family Super Saver fares for children aged 5 to 11 will be increased from Friday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m. to Monday, January 3 at 6:00 a.m. Up to two children aged 5 to 11 can travel for free with one client paying any rate valid from 7 p.m. on Friday or the day before a holiday until 6 a.m. on Monday or the day after a holiday as part of the promotion.

While other shuttle companies have not announced vacation fares, some use other discounts to encourage the user. MTA commuter railways, including MetroNorth and Long Island Rail Road, charge peak fares anytime through December 31. SEPTA has offered free rides to re-enter Eagles games, which are purchased by corporate sponsors.

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Larry Higgs can be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com.