NJ Transit cutting 18 more trains — and reducing fares, too
PISCATAWAY — In a final push to get a federally mandated emergency braking system complete by a Dec. 31 deadline, NJ Transit will cut 18 daily trains on five lines and offer a 10 percent discount on all fares.
The cuts include eight trains on the Morris & Essex Line, four on the Main/Bergen Line, three on the Northeast Corridor, two on the North Jersey Coast Line and one on the Montclair/Boonton Line.
Weekday and weekend service on the "Dinky" line from Princeton to the Princeton Junction station will be replaced by a bus.
The service changes go into effect on Sunday, Oct. 14.
All rail fares will be discounted by 10 percent in November, December and January, according to NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett who made the announcement Thursday while providing an update on positive train control installation.
Corbett announced the changes he called "absolutely necessary" at the Kinkisharyo facility in Piscataway, one of three facilities where the PTC installation is being done.
"We've asked our rail customers to be flexible, patient and understanding while we've made a series of schedule adjustments to advance our PTC project to meet the federal year-end deadline. I believe it's our turn to give back to our rail customers," Corbett said. The executive director is a regular commuter on the Morris & Essex Line.
Corbett said that there should be fewer trains suddenly canceled as has been the case the past several weeks due to the installation and engineer callouts.
He said 65 percent of the PTC installation on NJ Transit's system has been completed and confident the deadline will be met.
This month NJ Transit suspended the entire Atlantic City Line until at least December. NJ Transit also ended off-peak non-stop rides to New York on the Raritan Valley Line.
Members of the New Jersey 101.5 Commuter Panel had a mixed reaction to the temporary changes.
"I appreciate that they're trying to make the best of an inconvenient situation by offering the fare discount. PTC is definitely needed and should have been installed years ago, so I'm glad that they're finally making it a priority. My main concern is that with so many cancelled trains, the trains are going to be unsafely over-crowded as this has already been an issue all summer," Brittany Line, a Main Line rider from Lyndhurst said.
"We have been having service cuts for so long already but the discount is at least something. Not sure its really enough for the inconvenience this has caused for way too long already and the work just started," Morris Essex Line commuter Alan Locher said.
"Rebecca," another Main Line rider, said canceled trains have caused her "stress and disappointment" would rather pay full fare if it meant reliable service.
"I missed my son’s back to school night this week. I also had to text my boss one morning to say I had absolutely no idea when I would make it to work," she said
"I’d gladly pay my full fare and even more if it meant reliable service. I don’t make a lot of money and $152 is a considerable amount for me, but it’s worth it if I can be confident that the trains I rely on every day will be available and running on time.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan were all pleased with the moves by NJ Transit and took credit for suggesting them to Corbett.
“For commuters, what has been most frustrating has been the constant uncertainty and the worry of not knowing whether a train is going to be cancelled in the morning, making them late for work, or in the evening, making them late for their child’s sports event,” Senator Diegnan said. “Last summer was supposed to be the ‘Summer From Hell,’ but it ended up being bearable because NJ Transit adjusted its schedule months in advance to account for Amtrak’s work at New York Penn Station.”
Sweeney said the moves should ensure that the PTC work comes to a successful conclusion.
“The new schedule announced today by NJ Transit recognizes reality. There should be no excuse for not meeting the new schedule and providing safe, reliable service through the end of the year.”
The daily trains to be suspended are:
- 10:42 a.m. (#3832) from Trenton to NY Penn
- 6:04 a.m.(#3703) from NY Penn to New Brunswick
- 3:42 p.m. (#3857) from NY Penn to Trenton
North Jersey Coast Line:
- 7:00 a.m. (#3500) from South Amboy to NY Penn
- 7:46 a.m. (#3507) from NY Penn to South Amboy
Morris & Essex
INBOUND to Hoboken
- 6:01 p.m. (#330) from Summit
- 6:57 p.m. (#332) from Summut
- 10:38 p.m. (#436) from Gladstone
- 12:28 a.m. (#684) from Dover
- All weekend Gladstone Branch service will be replaced by buses
OUTBOUND from Hoboken
- 5:59 a.m. (#303) to Summit
- 4:42 p.m. (#643) to Dover
- 6:07 p.m. (#467) to Murray Hill
- 7:09 p.m. (#441) to Gladstone
Other M&E Adjustments
- Train 301, which departs Hoboken at 4:55 a.m. and arrives in Summit at 5:46 a.m., will operate 10 minutes earlier.
- Train 300, which departs Summit at 5:23 a.m. and arrives at Hoboken at 6:11 a.m., will operate 18 minutes earlier.
- Train 432, the 6:19 p.m. arrival in Hoboken from Gladstone operates 19 minutes earlier and replaces Train 330.
- Train 813, the 6:34 p.m. departure from Hoboken to Lake Hopatcong, will terminate at Dover and be renumbered as Train 657 departing Hoboken at 6:36 p.m. As alternates, customers may take Train 1011, the 6:29 p.m. departure from
- Hoboken to Lake Hopatcong or Train 1085, the 7:22 p.m. departure from Hoboken to Hackettstown.
- Train 341, the 7:03 p.m. departure from Hoboken to Summit, will operate 31 minutes later and depart Hoboken at 7:34 p.m.
OUTBOUND from Hoboken
- 6:11 a.m. (#209) to Montclair State
INBOUND to Hoboken
- 6:37 a.m. (#1146) from Suffren
- 3:05 p.m.(#1218) from Waldwick
OUTBOUND from Hoboken
- 7:00 a.m. (#1105) to Suffren
- 12:39 p.m. (#1155) to Suffren
David Matthau contributed to this report. Thanks to Scott Pringle.
How will these changes affect your commute? Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ