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Lookman Fazal

GoldenGov: State Executive of the Year

Lookman Fazal currently serves as the chief information officer and chief digital officer of NJ Transit. By bringing nearly 20 years of private-sector experience to the country’s largest public transit system, Fazal has implemented an intra-departmental digital transformation that includes onboarding top-tier talent and utilizing innovative technologies across multiple platforms to rebuild the customer journey with a focus on user experience. This has shown to be a net positive — NJ Transit’s digital ticket sales now comprise 55% of its total revenue. More than 100,000 customers have installed the redesigned mobile app, and more than 176,000 trips have been booked online.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, daily ridership dropped and the NJ Transit workforce went remote. Thankfully, the agency had made significant investments in the foundational technologies like core infrastructure, a move from desktops to laptops, collaboration tools and others in advance of the crisis.

“With the COVID pandemic hitting, nobody really had a choice to work from the building, you have to work from home unless you are absolutely required to be there,” Fazal told StateScoop. “[Those modernization efforts were] already underway, so we were well-prepared. So when the pandemic hit, we basically converted the company to a remote company overnight.”

This week, NJ Transit announced the addition of a feature to its mobile app that allows riders to avoid waiting for overcrowded buses and trains.