NEWARK, N.J. – In an effort to expand options for Access Link customers, NJ TRANSIT has announced a partnership with rideshare companies Uber and Lyft and the launch of a new pilot program, according to a prepared statement released on May 10, 2023.
The Access Link Riders’ Choice Pilot Program will provide Access Link users with the option to opt-in and receive rides through the rideshare services. The goal is to reduce wait and trip times, while maintaining Access Link prices and reservation process.
“NJ TRANSIT strives to provide efficient and reliable transportation services to all of our customers, particularly those who are the most vulnerable,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “The Riders’ Choice Pilot Program will improve Access Link reliability, while offering additional transportation options to customers of this crucial service.”
NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett said that adding Uber and Lyft as travel options will improve the Access Link travel experience for customers, while making it more cost effective for NJ TRANSIT. “This pilot program is a perfect example of how NJ TRANSIT is leveraging innovative partnerships to enhance our Access Link service,” said Corbett.
“Uber strives to make transportation as easy as possible for all,” said Jen Shepherd, Global Head of Transit at Uber. “This partnership with NJ TRANSIT will help cut down on wait time and improve reliability for Access Link riders. We are proud to help improve this critical service.”
“Lyft is excited to partner with NJ TRANSIT on this innovative new program that will expand mobility options for Access Link customers,” said Zach Greenberger, Chief Business Officer at Lyft. “Through similar partnerships across the U.S., we have seen riders benefit from decreased wait times, improved reliability and convenience, which ensures they can get to and from work, school, appointments and other activities.”
With this new partnership, Uber and Lyft drivers will now be available to supplement Access Link services as needed only if the customer opts in to utilize the pilot program. Customers who do not opt into the pilot program will continue to have all of their trips serviced by the current Access Link providers. Participation in the pilot program is strictly voluntary.
Benefits of the pilot program include:
- Improvement of on-time performance and productivity;
- Decreased missed trips;
- Improvement in retention of Access Link drivers.
Prior to scheduling a trip, Access Link customers in the Riders’ Choice Pilot Program must update their profile to indicate which rideshare service, Uber or Lyft, they would like to use. Customers also have the option to indicate they have no preference and are willing to utilize both providers. Use of the Uber or Lyft app is not necessary, and customers will not be required to contact either company directly. The determination to dispatch Uber or Lyft in lieu of an Access Link vehicle will be made based upon the best available scheduling option.
The pilot program starts May 10 in Regions 2 and 5, which include Essex, Morris, Union, Somerset, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties and parts of Cumberland County and may expand to additional counties statewide. Further details on potential expansion will be announced at a future date.
For complete details and to opt in to the program, visit njtransit.com/accessibility or view the Riders’ Choice Pilot Program brochure by visiting https://accesslink.njtransit.com/public/Paratransit/Images/files/RidersChoiceGuide_202305.pdf
Access Link is NJ TRANSIT’s American with Disabilities Act (ADA) paratransit program established to provide public transportation to people with disabilities who are unable to utilize local bus services.
The area covered by Access Link is comparable to NJ TRANSIT’s Local Fixed Route bus system. The service can be used to travel to any destination – for any reason – as long as the origin and destination are within the Access Link service area. Because Access Link is a “shared ride” service, other customers may be picked up during a scheduled ride if their location is on the way to the requested destination.