It Can’t Get Any Worse for NJ Rail Commuters, Right?

Image: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC

Since the two derailments at Penn Station on March 24 and April 3, Garden State commuters who work in New York City have been dealt several rounds of delays and other inconveniences. If any single week could illustrate the difficulty of being a cross-Hudson rail commuter, last week was probably it.

Monday 5/1: Rumors were flying that some New Jersey Transit riders had planned to refuse to purchase a new May monthly pass, dubbed NoPayMay, but the protest didn’t exactly pan out.

Tuesday 5/2: PATH trains stopped running on the Hoboken-33rd Street and Journal Square-33rd Street lines for about 45 minutes during the morning rush due to “equipment” problems.

Wednesday 5/3: Amtrak announced that several tracks will be shut down over a 44-day period in order to make repairs in Penn Station.

Thursday 5/4: An escalator on the NJ Transit concourse went out of service during the evening rush, which led to jam packed waiting areas and stairways. That was only exacerbated when at 6:25, delays of 20 minutes were announced due to congestion and a speed restriction due to track work and a signal problem. The headaches weren’t restricted to NJ Transit. Let’s not forget about when it rained sewage on the Long Island Rail Road concourse.

Friday 5/5: The Northeast Corridor Commission announced that Amtrak has a $38 billion backlog of projects. Flooding from heavy rains led to closed entrances at Penn Station and flooding in the World Trade Center Oculus hub. A power problem on PATH prompted NJ Transit to cross honor PATH passes. And finally, two tracks at Penn went out of service due to flooding.

And then on Sunday, as if the previous week wasn’t bad enough, the New York Times reported that NJ Transit failed to collect $240,000 in fares last year.

There is some good news: Governor Christie’s administration — an administration that failed transit riders miserably — is finally winding down, and the candidates hoping to replace him are talking in earnest about improving the situation.

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