Thursday, March 15, 2012

NJ Transit Commuters Continue Railing About Delays

NJ Transit wants people to think that they're doing a great job. They tout the fact that according to their metrics, NJ Transit on-time performance is as good as it has ever been. Yet, the problems with delays keeps getting worse.
It had its best December ever, with 96.6 percent of trains arriving on time ("on time" is within 5 minutes, 59 seconds after the scheduled arrival) and second-best January and February, with 96.8 percent and 96.9 percent, respectively.

In 2011, despite a brutal, icy January, the agency ended up with its best year for train on-time performance in five years.
The main issue is that the metric NJ Transit uses allows the agency to pad their statistics. Any commuter relying on the scheduled arrival time will find themselves constantly missing the scheduled connections because of the fact that NJ Transit can be on-time and yet be 6 minutes late. Every day.

This morning is no exception as there are 10-15 minute delays on the Northeast Corridor due to a stalled train.

I've experienced this repeatedly as trains would miss the scheduled times by five minutes or more and that would in turn result in missed connections with PATH. I was hardly alone as everyone else on board those trains had similar issues.

Multiply that by the number of days in the week and all those missed connections add up to massive costs to the commuters in lost productivity.

Even as NJ Transit claims that they've improved their on-time performance, when the delays occur, they're more severe and affect more people. That isn't surprising particularly because train delays on the Northeast Corridor spillover into the Northern New Jersey lines - affecting trains that should not be affected.

If NJ Transit wants to improve service, it ought to revisit how it addresses rerouting MidTown Direct trains to Hoboken. About a decade ago, those trains would go into Hoboken as a matter of course but new service redirected them to New York Penn Station. The agency has forgotten how to route traffic into Hoboken and delays pile up as no one seems to know where to put the additional traffic in Hoboken (which is still less than what NJ Transit used to handle in Hoboken). If NJ Transit addresses this issue, they'd be able to significantly reduce delays systemwide during problems on the Northeast Corridor.

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