John Ohlson, a Morris & Essex line commuter, has a simple request of the new head of NJ Transit.
“Forget cleanliness and prices,” said Ohlson. “Just get me to work on time.”
NJ Transit buses and trains have been ranked by the Federal Transit Administration as having some of the worst breakdown records in the county. And with the appointment Wednesday of Kevin S. Corbett, Gov. Phil Murphy’s nominee to help lead NJ Transit out of its current state of commuter disappointment, riders were asked what the priorities of the new executive director should be.
“Do whatever it takes for the trains to follow their schedules.” said Ohlson.
Corbett was officially voted executive director Wednesday morning by the agency’s board, taking the reigns from Steven Santoro, who announced his plans to retire in April. Corbett will earn a salary of $280,000.
Many of the commuters sounding off about NJ Transit were like Ellen Herb, who rides the 156 bus, who said reliability, both in equipment and schedules, was what she wanted to see.
“NJ Transit needs to listen to customers when they’re told there are not enough buses on a route or when a route needs to be changed to accommodate changing passenger needs,” she said.
Herb said NJ Transit “needs to listen to customers when they’re told there are not enough buses on a route or when a route needs to be changed to accommodate changing passenger needs.”
Bus commuters are frustrated with an aging cruiser bus fleet which is taking years to totally replace.
“If I can pick one thing, it’s fix the bus fleet,” remarked Eric Goebelbecker, a 177x bus commuter. “Too many of them are breaking down and too many trips are canceled for operational issues, which I assume means no buses are available.”
Other bus commuters said more attention needs to be paid to equipment breakdowns and delays caused by Port Authority workers replacing plastic “delineator” poles that separate the Route 495 bus lane from other Lincoln Tunnel traffic.
“(You) can’t have buses breaking down twice a week in the Xclusive Bus Lane-Lincoln Tunnel… you can’t have breakdowns causing 60 minute delays,” said John Medway, who rides the 163 bus to New York. “Work with the Port Authority to stop this manual delineator replacement madness. They did it twice (Monday).”
Rail commuters had similar grievances about old equipment failing, until the agency replaces older 40-year old rail cars.
“I would say the reliability of trains,” said Gary Kuppinger. “I take the Montclair- Boonton line and there are always delays due to ‘operational issues’ on trains.”
.@NJTRANSIT testing a new strobe light feature on the evening commute. pic.twitter.com/JpAo9XusyJ
— ej (@ejaguado) February 13, 2018
Overcrowding and canceled trains has to be addressed, several said.
“The actual train equipment needs to be fixed first,” said Corinne Cerrati a Pascack Valley Line commuter. “The delays and overcrowding caused by breakdowns and equipment shortages must be addressed.”