More delays on NJ Transit
New Jersey Transit holds Amtrak responsible for another day of delays and cancellations, for the fourth time this week.
Amtrak overhead wire problems are being blamed for 30-minute delays on the Northeast Corridor and the North Jersey Coast line since morning. PATH is cross-honoring NJ Transit tickets at Newark Penn Station, Hoboken and 33rd Street (NYC) and NY Waterway Hoboken Terminal South Ferry.
In a statement, Executive Director Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim urges Amtrak to "take every available action to resolve its continuing problems that are creating chaos for our customers."
Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said in an email that the problem is restricting the operation of trains to 3-at-a-time through the Hudson River Tunnel. "Our engineering folks are working to isolate and rectify the problem as we speak," wrote Schulz.
Hakim in her statement touted that their Emergency Response Teams are positioned in "critical station locations" to assist customers, establish alternative service and alert customers via social media and alerts.
NJ Transit trains have been delayed by 15 minutes or more into New York at least seven times this month and 14 times since June 1 because of problems the transit agency blamed on Amtrak, according to a review of messages posted on its Twitter account. Most of the delays were blamed on overhead wire, signal and switch problems.
Between Amtrak and NJ Transit problems and trespassers, trains have been delayed by at least 15 minutes 18 times in the last 54 days. Twelve of those delays lasted at least 30 minutes, including a half hour delay caused by a disabled New Jersey Transit train last week.
Compounding frustration for those who ride the rails to and from work, the delays come after NJ Transit's board on July 15 approved raising fares for bus and rail riders by about 9 percent starting in October.
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), meanwhile, ignored reporters' questions during an appearance in Spring Lake on Thursday. A New York Times reporter got no reply from Christie when asked "Do you care about New Jersey Transit riders?" Christie often incurs the wrath of delayed commuters on social media for his cancellation of the third Hudson River tunnel.
Just before 3:30 p.m. Friday, Christie's office released a statement:
NJ Transit commuters were victimized by nearly an entire week of extreme delays and cancellations for one reason only: Amtrak’s indifference to New Jersey commuters and its abject neglect of the infrastructure that New Jersey and our entire region relies upon. We have tried again and again to work cooperatively with Amtrak to resolve these issues, but in the face of this repeated and unacceptable failure, I am calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to step up to their responsibility to the people of New Jersey and to the largest and most important regional infrastructure system in the nation. I have also asked the New Jersey Attorney General to review the matter to see what recourse New Jersey has to ensure the $100 million we pay Amtrak every year for use of this critical infrastructure is being used properly. I urge Senators Booker and Menendez to join me in holding Amtrak accountable for doing their job and demanding a plan of action to immediately and fully fix these issues."
Earlier in the week NJ Transit tweeted an apology for delays to their riders. "Quality of commute last few days has been unacceptable, we share your frustration," read the tweet. "We've contacted Amtrak at highest levels seeking solution."
Get the latest on NJ Transit delays by texting TRAFFIC to 89000 or following @NJ1015 on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.