Monday, November 21, 2011

NJ Transit Screws Commuters Again; Stealth Station Elimination Targets Garfield Commuters

I've chastized NJ Transit incessantly for their unending series of miscommunications and inability to have a rational transit system.

This is another one of those opportunities.

NJ Transit recently spent millions of dollars (portion funded by the stimulus package- ARRA of 2009) to build a new Plauderville station. It's got two high level platforms, a heated waiting area, new access, and electronic signs. This is a state of the art station that meets ADA requirements.

In all of its efforts, the one thing NJ Transit forgot to do was tell anyone that it was all but phasing out service at the nearby Garfield station. Several key trains that stop at Garfield are being discontinued at the end of the month, making the commute for these people far more costly or difficult.

Garfield is located in fare zone 4.

Plauderville is located in fare zone 5.

That means that the monthly cost for a commuter being forced to switch locations is going from $169 to $193 a month for New York bound traffic and from $133 to $156 for Hoboken bound traffic.

Note that when NJ Transit introduced the Ramsey Route 17 station, it kept the station in the fare zone as Ramsey (zone 12). This is a disparity that makes little sense.

It makes even less sense considering that the stop being eliminate is shoehorned between the existing stops at Rutherford and Plauderville; the schedule isn't adversely affected forcing a schedule change. The station dwell time at Garfield doesn't affect the overall schedule by more than a minute or two, so the only explanation is that NJ Transit intends to eliminate Garfield's downtown station altogether.

Now, this might make sense down the line (such as when a new station is built on the Bergen Line in Wood-Ridge) but NJ Transit once again failed to communicate its plans to commuters who now have to scramble to find alternative transit options (such as driving to Wood-Ridge or Passaic or Delawanna) or finding one of the few remaining trains that stop in Garfield. It's a tremendous inconvenience to those commuters.

NJ Transit has a long and infamous history of making transit decisions that boggle the mind; this is another one.

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