TRENTON — Looking to improve a mass transit agency he has called a “national disgrace,” Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled a multi-step plan Thursday to begin to get NJ Transit back on track.

During an event at Trenton Station, the governor said while long-overdue action plans are being formulated, immediate improvements can and must be made.

“Commuters cannot wait on platforms for trains that never come, or suffer overcrowding on the ones that do come. The public deserves immediate relief to help ease their commuting headaches.”

He said to help ease overcrowding, 20 passenger cars that had been removed from service for upgrades will be returned.

To maximize the current fleet of rail cars, the governor said “NJ Transit is accelerating its current repair and inspection schedule to get cars back into service faster.”

He said to accelerate repairs, NJ Transit "is meeting with its parts suppliers on ways to reduce ordering lead times and also increase its parts inventory.”

“The goal is to ensure a ready supply of parts before — I emphasize before — they are needed so repairs can be made sooner and cars can more rapidly be returned to service.”

Murphy said NJ Transit is looking to lease more trains from another mass transit agency.

Incoming Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said a preliminary agreement is being finalized with the Maryland Transit Administration to lease an additional 20 rail cars.

“It allows us to have some cushion, so that if there are mechanical difficulties or any other issue and we have to take a car off, we can immediately replace a car.”

Murphy said NJ Transit is also taking steps “to bring on more of the skilled tradesmen and women it needs to keep the rail lines operational, with more frequent employment tests and hiring events.”

Gutierrez-Scaccetti added: “I can put all the train cars out there that I want, but if I don’t have folks to operate the train system it does not matter.”

She also noted some rail repairs are now being outsourced to get thing fixed more quickly, and NJ Transit is looking to improve its workflow operation, so outside experts will review and assist rail operations to get that flow back on track.

Murphy said getting NJ Transit right "is critical to our state’s overall economic health.”

“We need a strong mass transit system, capable of getting hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans to and from their jobs on a daily basis.”

He said improving mass transit will also help “attract employers to a state with one of the most highly skilled and educated workforces anywhere in the world.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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