Sierra Club: NJ Transit Commuter Hell Starts



NJ Transit Commuter Hell Starts


Today is the first day of NJ Transit summer schedule change as a result of Amtrak’s Penn Station New York track replacement. This work will take until September or later, causing NJ Transit delays for months. This schedule will be the worst for more than 23,000 Morris & Essex rail commuters who will be sent riders to Hoboken. As a result, the Hoboken station could see a dramatic increase in the number of rail commuters using it daily, from 16,000 to 39,000. Amtrak’s Penn Station New York track will replace at least three tracks during weekdays when people are going into the city for work. People will actually need to take the ferry into work, further delaying and extending their commute times. Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club released the following statement:


“In the beginning the summer of hell, we need to give Governor Christie and NJ Transit hell for delaying thousands of people from getting to work and not upgrading our failing transit system. Now that there is a new summer schedule, thousands of people will be diverted to the Hoboken trains and there will be even more delays. Some people will have to go on new routes on ferries and buses further extending their commute time and making them late for work. This will overload and hurt the PATH system. With this schedule, NJ Transit has no path forward.”


“All of the problems with NJ Transit will now be compounded because they have failed to conduct maintenance and have outdated equipment. With more people stuck in traffic, it will hurt the economy because people will be late to work and productivity will go down. While there will be more people driving cars, we will see more traffic and air pollution. This will increase the amount of bad ozone days in the summer, hitting people with asthma. This summer schedule will be a nightmare for NJ Transit commuters who are already overburdened with delays, cuts in service, and higher fares.”


“The delays NJ Transit commuters have already faced will be worse with the repairs happening at Penn Station because we will see more re-routing and less service. Commuters are already gambling whether the train will arrive on time or whether they can get to work on time. People are surprised when NJ Transit is on time because delays and break downs is the new norm. Now instead of adding more service and helping commuters, they keep cutting back. We have already seen delay after delay when there is no re-routing service to other areas. This might even be dangerous because commuters will be spending their time waiting longer for trains, while they are sweating from the summer heat. This might be a public health risk to people who cannot tolerate the warm temperatures.”


“While NJ Transit is re-routing so many commuters, they have failed to invest in our crumbling mass transit system is crumbling. This is because the Christie Administration has no funding for operations and maintenance. Instead they have stolen $8 billion in federal funding for operations, which was supposed to go to things like automatic braking to make our trains safer. Governor Christie hasn’t even address trains being derailed like what happened in Hoboken because there is no money for Positive Train Control, putting commuters at risk. They have even taking $80 million from the Clean Energy Fund to keep the lights on, but our trains are going off the tracks and the wheels are still coming off the bus.”


“What used to be once the best transit systems in the country is now breaking down, failing apart, and delayed every day. Due to all of these delays and changes, people are getting in their car causing more traffic on our roads and air pollution. Ridership has been dropping meaning a loss of revenue and possibly more cuts in the future. The people still riding NJ Transit keep paying more to get to work late because of delays and accidents.”


“This summer we will see more commuters to be aggravated people because of delays. On top of that they will be frustrated that they are paying more for less service. Governor Christie’s transit policies have caused hikes in fares, getting rid of off peak pricing, cuts to maintenance all resulting in a drop-in customer satisfaction. This has added to traffic, pollution, and sprawl, while causing NJ Transit to go to ruin. The problem is this not only has hurt commuters, but it hurts our economy, and the environment.”


Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club, 609-558-9100

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