‘Hell’ arrives — NJ Transit riders see delays, crowding, frustration in evening rush hour
If the first morning of the so-called "Summer of Hell" gave rail customers signs of hope that the delays and adjustments caused by a two-month infrastructure project at Penn Station would be smoother than expected, then the evening commute may have been reality check.
Delays and cancellations marked the trip out of the city for many. Among those most affected both in the morning and evening commuters were rides on the Morris & Essex Line. Inbound service ends at Hoboken Terminal during the project. And there is no direct rail service during the afternoon commute from Penn Station; all riders have to depart from Hoboken Terminal. Riders leaving from New York have to first take PATH trains, buses or ferries to get to Hoboken.
Both the 7:03 and 7:09 trains p.m. from Hoboken were cancelled due to operational issues, and the 6:04 train was 15 minutes delayed due to the same issues.
On the Raritan Valley Line, the 6:11 p.m. train from Plainfield was delayed 35 minutes, and the 6:55 p.m. train from Dunellen was delayed for 15 minutes, with both delays being attributed to operational issues.
NJ Transit posted updates and alerts about the trains on their website.
Customers on the Main/Bergen/Port Jervis lines also experienced delays ranging from 10 to 35 minutes, with delays also reported on the Montclair/Boonton line.
After a full day of work customers were not shy about expressing their displeasure on social media:
Even as New Jersey Transit could be seen making an effort to respond to many of the complaints.
Charles Ingoglia, an NJ Transit spokesman. said after the morning commute that there had been "a couple small glitches," including a train out of Mount Olive being a little more crowded than usual. He said the company is planning to add multi-level cars to that route to help with overcrowding in the future.
"In Maplewood we could use more directional signage so we're going to get on that, and in Hoboken a lot of people chose to come to the first Path entrance," he said. "There is another one on the other side that was hardly utilized, so it might be easier to get down the stairs if they took a look at the other Path entrance and our customer service people will direct them to that beginning tomorrow."
Ingoglia said because customers were educated about the issues it helped them to be better prepared for when they happened.
"Our customers seem to have done their homework," he said, adding many "made their choices quickly, and going about their business."
NJ Transit Spokewoman Nancy Synder said the company was "continuously monitoring our customer's travel patterns."
"We'll make refinements where we need to," she said. Snyder also said it was "way too early" to make big changes after the first day and that that will be decided as the work continues.
More From New Jersey 101.5
Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com