Good news for Central Jersey rail riders. 

New Jersey Transit is moving forward with an ambitious program to modernize and upgrade a key stretch of the Northeast Corridor line between New Brunswick and Newark.

NJ Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein says the work includes " the catenary signal system - it's the meat and potatoes - the power system- the sub-stations.  All of those things that are absolutely critical to making the system work reliably…They're all 1935, 1930 vintage equipment - and it's lived way past its useful life…It is the one part of our system where virtually every line - except Atlantic City touches- and the Bergen County lines."

Weinstein says overall, NJ Transit is doing "really well - we've got challenges every day, but I think if you look at our customer satisfaction survey - 3 out of 4 people would recommend the service…This past quarter - we finally got up to very close to what our goal was for the year- with almost a 6 on a scale of 10 - a 6 approval rating."

He's quick to add, "You didn't hear me say we were satisfied - what I'm telling you is we're headed in the right direction… when we started this process the scorecard process- the customer satisfaction survey process - we wanted to know what customers cared about most, and we found out that on-time performance and most importantly stable fares were the most important things- and those are the things we've focused on…through implementing a performance management system and making sure that's connected to what our customers want, we're able to make improvements."

 

Weinstein points out "we're making investments in technology to communicate with our customers - we're making investments in technology to better maintain our equipment…all of our bus system - by the end of this year - will be equipped with computer devices - clever devices- that will enable people to be able to stand at a bus station anywhere - there's a number on the bus station sign - and they'll be able to know when the next bus is coming - not when it's scheduled, but when it's actually going to come - so…we're making progress - you gotta do it one step at a time - you can't change things overnight… in much of our system there is capacity in parking - we've got a public-private analysis that's going on of the parking system to address some of those issues."

He also says "we need to do something to address the capacity - the Trans Hudson capacity issues- but we're not going to pay for it ourselves - this is a regional issue…Amtrak continues to examine the idea of building a new rail tunnel heading into New York City but this is a glacial process - it doesn't happen overnight- you need to be thoughtful and careful."