Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NJ Transit's Latest Customer Survey Finds Service Lacking

I fully expect NJ Transit to attempt and spin the latest results from their customer survey to show just how many people are willing to refer NJ Transit to friends.

The problem is that NJ Transit is the least bad of multiple options - like sitting in traffic at the GWB when toll hikes suck even more money out of your wallet and there aren't sufficient cash lanes open to deal with the people who still haven't switched to EZ Pass. Against that, NJ Transit is a breeze.

NJ Transit's customer service is sorely lacking, particularly during rail disruptions. As bad as things were in the initial survey, they got even worse in the most recent quarter. Handling of service disruptions went from a 3.4 (out of 10) to a 3.2. Mechanical reliability went from a 4.0 to 3.7.

Nearly every other metric declined.

That's an indictment of just how poorly NJ Transit is being run. NJ Transit has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into new railcars, but none of that matters when the power systems on the Northeast Corridor fail on a regular basis or the Portal Bridge gets stuck delaying everyone in and out of New York City for hours on end. Until NJ Transit gets its infrastructure up to snuff (and that means dealing with Amtrak), these problems will continue.

Failing the infrastructure upgrades, NJ Transit must do a better and more prompt response to disruptions that leave commuters in the lurch. It's the absolute least they can do considering that fares were increased and service has gotten worse.

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