If rail workers strike, is NJ Transit stuck without a backup plan?
A New Jersey commuter advocacy group claims NJ Transit has no real "Plan B" if rail workers stop coming to work on March 13 due to contract disputes.
The agency has not expanded on any contingency plans in the event of a strike, but Michael Phelan, co-founder of New Jersey Commuters Action Network, said all signs point to NJ Transit adding "three or four dozen" buses in and out of New York City to accommodate the shifting rail volume.
"There's already 500,000 folks being transported on buses every morning as it is, and that system's already ready to break down," Phelan told New Jersey 101.5. "The roads can't handle it, the tunnel can't handle it and the terminal can't handle it on the west side."
And all buses, he added, may be handled by drivers who are not prepared to navigate a highway system that experienced drivers already find challenging.
"There's an art to doing that, and just being able to operate a bus doesn't mean these folks can get the bus from central New Jersey, through 495 and the Turnpike, through the tunnel and into the terminal," he said.
NJ Transit has plans to meet on Friday with several rail unions that have been working without a contract for years.
In the meantime, the agency is telling riders to purchase monthly passes for March as they usually would because there's a plan in place to "accommodate customers who have purchased tickets and passes."
Phelan said riders should instead purchase one 10-pack of tickets in case they find themselves extremely dissatisfied with service availability.
"If everyone's going to get pushed to buses, then the bus service is going to be strained beyond its borders," he said.
New Jersey 101.5 is awaiting a returned message from NJ Transit about Phelan's comments.