New Jersey Transit passengers may one day board buses without drivers.
The agency on Tuesday in Edison unveiled three self-driving shuttles that it hopes to test as part of a pilot program funded by a $950,000 Federal Transit Administration grant.
The electric shuttles can ferry 15 passengers at speeds of up to 15 mph. They would first be tested on a closed section of Fort Monmouth before NJ Transit would seek permits to allow the vehicles to carry passengers on public roads within the fort's property.
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"Despite low gas prices and declining nationwide rail ridership trends, NJ TRANSIT's rail ridership went up approximately three percent from fiscal year 2018 to 2019. Our customers are clearly looking for 'first mile, last mile' options, and that's what this pilot program is all about - exploring options for our customers, staying ahead of the curve, and studying the benefits and challenges of this rapidly-advancing technology in real-world scenarios," New Jersey Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said in a statement.
NJ Transit says the self-driving shuttles can serve small area trips and feed fixed-route services.
The FTA is scheduled to announce grant recipients this winter.