Is my train on time? NJ Transit improving communications with riders
We haven’t heard about any horrible delays or missteps involving NJ Transit lately.
As the embattled agency continues to cycle more and more train cars back into service that have had emergency-braking equipment installed and tested, efforts have been ramped up to improve communication with the traveling public.
According to NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett, rail and bus operations during the work week are being carefully monitored via video feeds at the Emergency Operations Center in Maplewood.
“So if a train has a problem the dispatcher will call the engineer and say what’s going on," he said.
Once the situation has been clarified, the dispatcher will pass the word to members of the EOC communications team who are updating the NJ Transit app. The information will also be shared with other communications team members who get the word out on social media.
Corbett said having everyone in one main room with access to video feeds is an advantage.
“You can see the PATH stations, you can see what’s going on in the bus terminals, so if there’s problems on PATH or Hoboken Terminal, here you can see it all collectively so we can communicate intelligently," he said.
For passengers don’t have the NJ Transit app or Twitter, announcements are still made on the intercoms, which Corbett says they are "still working on trying to make sure those announcements are as clear and as proper as possible.”
Corbett said once in a while, if there’s a problem over the weekend, a computer-generated message may appear on video screens and go over the train station loudspeakers. That information may not be completely updated, depending on the nature of the difficulty. He said NJ Transit is working on updating this system so “we can override the computer-generated thing so we can get it accurately so we don’t have that (miscommunication)."
“We’re trying to bring the frustration down as quickly as possible," he said. "We get it; we know it’s been accumulating for years so it’s not going to disappear overnight.”
He added anger and frustration can certainly build up, but he’s encouraging travelers to share the details about any issues.
“They can vent. We can deal with people venting. But, particularly if they give us real specifics, it really helps to give us the data to drive down, to eliminate those problems," he said.
NJ Transit is discussing modernizing NJ Transit headquarters in Newark to include video feeds similar to what is now in place in the Emergency Operations Center, and have that headquarters monitored 24-hours a day.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com