Did NJ Transit commuters get a break on Tuesday? Sort of
NEWARK — After a week of daily cancellations, frustrated NJ Transit riders got a break on Tuesday morning on the rails but ran into issues buying tickets.
Riders ran into problems with the ticket vending machines at stations due to a Verison network issue, according to a message on the agency's Twitter account sent at 7 a.m. MyBus users also had problems.
The machines were fully operational around 3 p.m.
Only five trains were canceled as of 8:25 a.m., according to a count on each line's Twitter account. The frustration had reached a boiling point for many commuters when 20 trains were canceled Monday morning and 10 didn't make their scheduled runs on Monday afternoon.
Temperatures in the 90s and high humidity didn't help on Monday afternoon at Secaucus, where passengers tweeted about a lack of air conditioning at the station. Passenger Frank Scunge called it a "disaster" with trains also mislabeled. His train to Long Branch was labeled as going to Dover, adding another half hour to his wait.
NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith told NJ 101.5 on Tuesday afternoon that two air conditioner compressors are having "mechanical difficulties."
"Our vendor is actively working on correcting this problem as quickly as possible," Smith said in an email.
Commuter "Kara O." also said via Twitter the temperature at Secaucus was awful at both ends of her commute.
"It was like greenhouse at 645 a.m. and a sauna at 445 p.m.," the tweet read.
"Major train cancellations. No air conditioning. Stranded people with not alternate routes, no buses, no assistance at all," commuter Rebecca LW said via Twitter.
NJ Transit, in a statement, blamed a quarter of the Monday morning problems on mechanical issues and the rest on a "higher than usual number of unplanned engineer absences."
The ongoing Positive Train Control installation also received some of the blame, as it requires a number of train crews to perform required testing and program support, according to the agency.
NJ Transit said it is adding nine engineers to its roster when they complete their training within the next week. Spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said the railroad is currently 50 engineers short of the 383 needed.
The trains canceled on Tuesday morning, as of 6:30 a.m., were:
- 5:03 a.m. (#0046) from Port Jervis due to equipment issues
Morris & Essex Line
- 6:03 a.m. (#0852) from Mount Olive due to equipment issues
North Jersey Coast Line
- 6:47 a.m. (#3505) from New York Penn Station
Pascack Valley Line
- 8:52 a.m. (#1650) from Anderson Street due to mechanical issues
The cancellations did not please commuters:
How was your Tuesday morning commute? Join our Commuter Board and be part of our traffic and transit coverage. Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.