Riders support NJ Transit conductor targeted by furious rider — video
NEWARK — A NJ Transit conductor held her own and had the support of passengers when a passenger went off on her onboard a stuck train on the Morris & Essex Line on Monday afternoon.
It was chaos onboard the train, according to several riders who shared their experience on Twitter. "No air. Fight breaks out. People arrested. People passing out. Cops/EMS called. Finally towed 2 Newark at 7:45," @TheHauteTrend said in a tweet.
As approximately 1,500 customers sat in the dark and heat of the 6:10 p.m. headed to Montclair after it lost power, one customer demanded to get off the train and berated a conductor who identified herself as Marissa in a video of the confrontation.
The passenger was also upset that Marissa pointed at her. Marissa explained that she speaks with her hands.
"I don't care! I am a customer! You are supposed to provide customer service. You don't put your finger in my face especially in a situation like this. You think this is acceptable to treat human beings this way?"
Marissa's response could not be heard but other passengers said "it's not her fault" before the passenger yelled again "this is your job lady. Do it."
The passenger then said she wanted to get off the train and berated the conductor for being paid whether or not the train moves. Marissa said she understood the passenger's frustration but she was not having any of her empathy and was not happy that she would have to wait for a rescue train.
"Why didn't they send one earlier? Why was that the last resort? Why are are they walking across the bridge to the engine that may or may not start? Because you're too stupid to know," the rider said as other passengers expressed shock.
Marissa calmly said that "You want to have an attitude? I get that. we're all pissed off here. Every single one of us. We're all stuck in the same situation before being interrupted by the passenger.
More passengers urged her to calm down as Marissa called the police. Aware that her rant was caught on video she told everyone to "feel free" to post.
"Marissa I'm going to call them and let them know what a great job you're doing," a male passenger said.
Another passenger pointed out the warning on the wall about fines and jail time for interfering with train personnel and suggested that she just sit down "and suck it up like the rest of us." The passenger has nothing else to say as the video ended.
A rescue train was sent to bring passengers back to Newark Penn Station and the disabled train was brought to the station by 8 p.m.
Marissa won praise from NJ Transit for remaining professional, calm and continuing to perform her job under difficult circumstances.
"We understand our customers’ frustrations and apologize for the experience on train 6279 last night. The safety and well-being of our customers remains our highest priority. Once the engineer determined he would be unable to resolve the mechanical issue, a request for a rescue train was made. Due to the location where the train became disabled, it was unsafe to attempt a transfer or an evacuation of the passengers. When the rescue train arrived it was safely moved to Broad St. Station where passengers were able to continue their trip on train 6283," spokesman Jim Smith said in a statement.