Originally serving only as an airport circulator, a service which allows passengers to transfer between airport terminals or concourses, the monorail track was refurbished and extended to the NEC, with construction beginning in 1997. The system reopened for service on October 21, 2000. When first opened in 1996 a fleet of 12 six-car Bombardier trains ran on the network. It has expanded to 18 six-car trains.
The train is free, except to and from the Amtrak/New Jersey Transit station. In that case, the fare is included in the price of the train ticket. New Jersey Transit monthly pass holders must pay an extra $5.50 to ride AirTrain, unless they set EWR as the origin or destination stop for their pass.
The AirTrain has three major stations within the airport, one for each main terminal (A, B, and C). These stations sit on top of the terminal buildings. There are four other stations (P1, P2, P3, and P4) for the parking lots and rental car facilities plus an eighth at the Northeast Corridor. Automated announcements recorded by traffic reporter Bernie Wagenblast tell riders which airlines can be found in each terminal. In 2007, the average daily paid ridership was 4,930.