Watch NJ Transit train barrel down the tracks for a half hour — with an open door
TRENTON — Video taken by a New Jersey Transit passenger depicted a dangerous ride for commuters on Tuesday evening — when a door on an outbound Northeast Corridor train remained open for about 30 minutes, through eight stops on the route.
Jeffrey Spitery, who took the video, told New Jersey 101.5 he walked about half the length of the train looking for a conductor after he realized the door was open. He said it "had to be open from the airport stop all the way to Metuchen."
The Newark Liberty Airport stop is one of the few that exists on the left heading outbound.
Spitery said conductors had previously been looking for an open door on the train during a stop in Newark, causing a five- to 10-minute delay.
In the video, other passengers are seen moving through the vestibule past the door in question, their hair blown around by the wind generated from the speed of the train.
"That was just outright dangerous," Spitery said.
He said riders often don't want to report problems they see on the train because they fear further delays in their trip.
"What I think happened that day was that for some reason they were really short-staffed on that train," Spitery said, adding that no one collected tickets on his ride. "If you're operating a train with only two conductors, that's not safe for the riding public."
He said that he has observed that on overcrowded trains, the conductors "just kind of give up" collecting tickets.
Spitery said he made NJ Transit aware of the door and sent a complaint via its app.
"All they did was send me the automated response and a case number," he said.
The following day, Spitery said, he sent the video to NBC 4 New York. He also provided a copy to New Jersey 101.5, seen above.
"We pay a fortune to ride that train. (It's) the most we've ever paid and the service the worst we've ever experienced," Spitery said.
Spitery said he saw an open door several years ago and promised himself if it happened again, he would take video.
NJ Transit has since pulled this particular train from service, and is investigating. A spokesman told NBC 4 New York that trains are not supposed to be permitted to move if a door is judged to be open, and encouraged riders to report any similar incidents.
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. He prefers to ride trains with closed doors. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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