A brief review of the New Jersey transit situation

Train tracks in Allenhurst, totally unused for nearly two weeks

Train tracks in Allenhurst, NJ, unused for nearly two weeks

 

Commuting from New Jersey into New York, which isn’t fun under NORMAL conditions, has become downright awful since the hurricane.

The buses are more-or-less working again, but out of NJ Transit’s 10 rail lines, 4 are running, and only 1 goes into New York. (Ironically, one of the lines that’s running is Atlantic City, which took the most direct hit from Hurricane Sandy.)

And they can only run 13 out of the 63 morning-rush-hour NJ Transit trains that usually come into New York.

NJ Transit rail system map, normal, November 2011 NJ Transit rail system, hurricane recovery map, November 9 2012
NJ Transit rail map, normally (November 2011) NJ Transit rail map, hurricane recovery (November 2012)

This means a LOT of rail commuters suddenly need to find alternative ways to get into New York.
Which basically means we all need to find the nearest bus stop and hop on a bus.

Here are some facts:

Obviously, if you suddenly try to put tens of thousands of displaced rail commuters on buses, and you don’t increase the number of buses, that’s not going to work.

NJ Transit has been good enough to arrange “emergency shuttle bus service” from a few NJ origins into New York. (It’s free, which annoys the hell out of commuters who already paid for their monthly passes.)

This is great, but it hasn’t been working too well. Since buses are the only logical way for suburban New Jerseyans to get into New York, the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) has been mobbed. (I nearly had a panic attack trying to navigate the crowds, and it took me an hour just to find my damn bus gate on Tuesday.)

As of Thursday afternoon, NJ Transit announced that it would be adding six new emergency shuttle buses to its lineup. These new bus solutions all go to a ferry terminal, where commuters transfer to a ferry to take them into New York. This will bypass the PABT and hopefully reduce the ridiculous overcrowding.

NJ Transit Emergency shuttle service, November 6-8, 2012 NJ Transit emergency shuttle service, as of November 9, 2012
NJ Transit Emergency shuttle service, November 6-8, 2012 NJ Transit emergency shuttle service, as of November 9, 2012

We’ll see.

Hopefully this will all be over soon, but I have my doubts.

In the meantime, here are some links I’ve been refreshing obsessively to stay as on-top-of-this as possible:

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5 Responses to “A brief review of the New Jersey transit situation”

  1. What a great record of the situation. A lot of large companies are chartering private bus companies to ferry their workers from various destinations or where the NJTransit is still working (Newark Airport, for instance). Apart from the ferry terminal, some PATH service has been restored from Jersey City, which is a valid (and cheaper) ferry substitute.

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