Solar-powered, High-Tech Bus Shelters in the Works

August 13, 2013

Many riders of NJ Transit’s bus service will soon be able to keep out of the elements in style, as approximately 100 new bus shelters fitted with modern amenities are slated to be installed within the year.

Sun Pacific Power Corp., a solar-energy company based in Freehold, has been working with municipalities throughout the state to replace existing NJ Transit shelters with new, high-tech versions.

The shelters will also provide highspeed Wi-Fi Internet access, motion-activated LED lighting and security cameras.

Sun Pacific Power is also working with NJ Transit to connect the shelters to the transportation company’s GPS system to relay arrival time estimates to riders, Campanella said.

Work on the three initial bus shelters — one in Howell and two in Freehold — is expected to be completed this week.

Sun Pacific Power is expecting to replace shelters along Routes 9 and 35 in both directions and in municipalities where NJ Transit buses stop. The company hopes to have five to 10 shelters in each municipality that has stops.

“As long as there’s enough sunlight and there’s the appropriate connections and footprint, that allows us to determine where we are installing the shelters,” Campanella said.

Before any work could begin on the shelters, the company had to receive approval from NJ Transit. Campanella said the project was met with enthusiasm from the transportation agency.

“NJ Transit offers shelters to each municipality at the [the company’s] expense, so they thought that this would be a good opportunity to provide new technology and shelters without spending that money,” Campanella said. “For them, it’s an offset because they don’t have to pay to repair or replace them.”

Though the project was given the green light by NJ Transit, the solar-energy company still must present its case to each municipality where the shelters would be installed. According to Campanella, the cost to install the shelters will not impact local taxpayers.

“We pick up all of the expenses for installing and maintaining the shelters. It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

Campanella said other costs related to bus shelters, including the regular maintenance of each location, will also fall upon Sun Pacific Power rather than the municipality, ultimately saving taxpayers in the long run.

The company plans to contract with local companies in an effort to support local businesses while providing clean bus shelters. “Unfortunately, a lot of municipalities are not as on top of the shelters’ maintenance as they should be … so we’re working with local contractors to maintain the shelters and oversee them,” Campanella said.

Costs for the company will be offset by advertising revenue.

The bus shelter operators are in partnership with Hand Drawn Marketing, whose mission is to integrate marketing efforts through various means to deliver creative strategies to build brands, raise awareness and deliver maximum results. Hand Drawn Marketing is a division of Greater Media Inc., which owns Greater Media Newspapers in New Jersey and radio stations in several markets.

For information on media marketing efforts on the digital screens in the bus shelters, contact Kate Rochelle at krochelle @gmnews.com.

So far, Sun Pacific Power has reportedly been in talks with a number of municipalities, including the Borough of Englishtown and Monroe Township.

“We’re going to be bringing these shelters into the 21st century,” Campanella said.