NJ Transit ready for crush of riders during Pope visit
NJ Transit commuters should expect a far-from normal commute when Pope Francis and many world leaders visit New York next week.
Security will be extremely tight as New York deals with what Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) calls "the largest security challenge the department and this city have ever faced," according to NBC 4 New York, with 90 percent of the world's leaders attending United Nations General Assembly meetings during the week. Pope Francis will address the meeting on Friday.
“With crowds moving into, out of, and around New York City on Thursday and Friday of the Papal visit week, NJ Transit’s regular customers should know that this will be very far from their normal commute,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim in a statement. “We are asking our customers to be patient – and to be prepared – as we expect our rail and bus service to be at or near capacity during the peak periods so wait times may be lengthy. Our goal is to have visitors utilize off-peak trains and move as many people as possible in a safe and efficient manner.”
NJ Transit plans additional rail service during the off-peak hours into Penn Station New York and enhance its bus service into Port Authority Bus Terminal throughout the day. Special signage will be posted to help those unfamiliar with using the trains. Riders can also travel to Hoboken and connect with PATH and NY Waterway services to and from New York.
In addition, NJ Transit will provide regular game day service on Thursday night, when the Giants play at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.
After addressing the United Nations, the pope will make his way to lower Manhattan to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and then travel uptown to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem. Thousands will line Central Park's West Drive between West 72nd Street and West 60th Street on Friday afternoon as the pope rides through the park en route to a Mass at Madison Square Garden scheduled for 6 p.m.
The pope will leave JFK Airport on Saturday morning for the short flight to Philadelphia for a full schedule of events, culminating in a Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday afternoon.