The Ninth Street station in Hoboken features a passenger elevator that connects the station to Jersey City's Congress Street neighborhood, located above Hoboken on the cliffs. The elevator is approximately 145 feet high.
The maiden trip, filled with politicians and local community leaders, marked the official opening of three stations - two at the western terminations of Second and Ninth streets in Hoboken and one at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.After a brief ceremony in Weehawken, passenger service on the extension began, and paying customers boarded the new trains, which run every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.
The one-way flat fare to any of the light rail station is $1.50 and a monthly pass can be purchased for $53.
According to officials from New Jersey Transit, with the new station open, it is anticipated that 17,000 passenger trips will be made on the light rail an average weekday.
"The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line has proven to be a strong economic driver along the Hudson County waterfront," said New Jersey Transit Executive Director George Warrington. "With the opening of this new segment north of the Hoboken Terminal, I believe the so-called 'Gold Coast' will soon become the 'Platinum Coast.' " He added that NJ Transit anticipates that ridership on the light rail will be 20,000 per day in 2005 and more than 30,000 a day in 2010.
The new service is planned as a "shuttle" operating between Lincoln Harbor and the Hoboken Terminal.
Passengers heading further south than Hoboken (to Jersey City and Bayonne) will need to transfer to a southbound light rail train at Hoboken. Economic engine
Hoboken Mayor David Roberts was pleased with the economic impact that the light rail is having on the towns it passes through. In Hoboken, former blighted warehouses and old factories on the west side of town have been razed in favor of new, sought after condos. In Jersey City, more than 15 million square feet of office space, 10,000 residential units and 500 hotel rooms are now available within walking distance of light rail stations. And in Weehawken, according to Mayor Richard Turner, the private sector is revitalizing the waterfront.
"This is an event that is the culmination of many years of hard work over many different administrations to make sue the funding was in place," said Turner.
U.S. Congressman Robert Menendez (D-13th Dist.), who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that light rail is more than just about transporting to work, school or shopping and entertainment destinations.
"It's about linking communities, providing options, and protecting our environment," said Menendez Tuesday. "It helps New Jersey fight air pollution, reduce traffic, and cut down on urban sprawl. Finally, our light rail project shows that we can plan transportation growth carefully."
"The light rail is crucial to economic growth of Hudson County," said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. "It increases home value and business investments and it makes it easier for people to live, work and shop there."
DeGise called on state and federal officials find the funding to expand the light rail route to the Meadowlands by the end of the decade.
"This extension brings us one step closer to providing full mass transit access to all of the residents of Hudson County," added state Sen. Bernard Kenny (D-Hoboken) in a statement.
Where it runs
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is a modern transit system launched in April 2000 that now operates through Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken. September of 2002 brought the first phase, a $1.1 billion project that includes six stations running from 34th Street in Bayonne, through Jersey City, and to the Hoboken Terminal.
The second major phase, which will cost $1.2 billion and runs approximately six miles, is now under construction and will be completed in three steps; the first, 34th Street to 21st Street in Bayonne, opened in November 2003.
The third leg, which is scheduled to open in 2005, will include continuing service to Port Imperial in Weehawken, Bergenline Avenue in Union City, and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen.