Thursday, September 01, 2011

NJ Transit Finally Provides Bergen/Main Line Customers With Revised Schedule

Following the devastating damage to the Port Jervis line resulting from Hurricane Irene, NJ Transit fumbled about for several days with no clear plan or notification to Bergen county commuters as to what to expect. Finally, just after 5pm today, NJ Transit released a statement providing what it calls a schedule. This is what it intends to do with Bergen Line trains during rush hour:
The following NJ TRANSIT trains will add stops in New Jersey from cancelled Port Jervis Line trains:

Inbound Train 1252, the 7:14 a.m. Waldwick departure, will add Suffern and Route 17 stops from cancelled Train 48, to form new combined train No. 1192, which will keep the same station stop times and arrive in Hoboken at 8:08 a.m.
Inbound Train 1254, the 7:48 a.m. Waldwick departure, will add Suffern, Mahwah, Route 17, and Ramsey stops from cancelled Train 52, to form new combined train No. 1194, which will keep the same station stop times, and arrive in Hoboken at 8:31 a.m.
Inbound Train 1210, the 8:35 a.m. Waldwick departure will add Suffern and Route 17 stops from cancelled Train 54, to form new combined train No. 1138. The combined train is rescheduled to arrive in Hoboken at 9:38 a.m., 7 minutes later than 1210, to account for possible delays resulting from the added stops.
Suffern and Route 17 times are 6-7 minutes later than Train 54, at 8:25 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively.
Outlying station times from Waldwick to Secaucus do not change.
Previously published Secaucus and Path connections do not change.
Ferry connection shifts 10 minutes later to 9:40 a.m. departure/9:50 a.m. arrival
Outbound Train 1169, the 5:45 p.m. Hoboken departure, will add a stop at Route 17, to replace the Route 17 stop on cancelled Train 57.
What does this actually mean?

It means residents using peak time trains in the heart of Bergen County have to deal with crowded trains for the foreseeable future and NJ Transit offers no explanation of how it plans to mitigate the problems. NJ Transit will start trains that were normally packed by the time they reach Radburn and are instead starting them in Suffern, meaning that the crowding conditions will be insufferable and pose an ongoing unsafe conditions.

NJ Transit is simply passing the buck and claiming that it will maintain this sub-par service until Metro North can fix the problems, which will take months.

NJ Transit apparently couldn't find three additional train sets to run from Suffern to handle the overflow, and they have made no plans to add railcars to the affected trains to reduce the cattle-car like atmosphere on board the affected trains.

NJ Transit offers no apologies and no explanation as to why it took so long to inform customers what it was doing (and had been doing since it claimed service returned to normal. Customer service once again was sorely lacking and atrocious considering that the agency is supposed to be serving the public and attempting to get people to consider commuting by train rather than by car.

The crowded conditions continue to pose a safety hazard and NJ Transit continues to act as though customers have no choice but to accept their service regardless of how poor it is.

My main beef with the agency is its atrocious public relations and inability to timely inform commuters of these kinds of problems. There was no notice that these trains would be combined and that by the time they reached the heart of Bergen County that there would be no space to board safely. It's a situation that will only get worse once we get past Labor Day and everyone attempts to go back to work.

Meanwhile, Metro North has announced that it will attempt to expedite repairs, including seeking various contracts to get repair work underway. It will take months before they can restore service, which means it will probably be next summer before service is completely restored. Until then, commuters will have to put up with atrocious service.

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