NJ Transit cancellations, roadway construction a nightmare for commuters

Posted: Updated:

Continual cancellations by New Jersey Transit and a major roadway construction project about to begin means a tough commute for some New Jersey residents.

The agency has had to cancel many trains recently, often with short notice due to the installation of the positive train control safety system. Riders tell News 12 New Jersey that they are often caught off guard by the cancellations.

“If I had some warning, I could’ve worked for another hour,” says commuter Joel Horowitz. “The next train was so crowded it felt like a cattle car.”

Horowitz rides on the Raritan Valley Line. NJ Transit also announced that off-peak Raritan Valley Line trains will no longer go directly to New York Penn Station starting Sept. 4 due to PTC installation. The Atlantic City Line will be completely suspended as well.

“They’re so far behind in doing this and they sat on their rear ends for so long and didn’t get it done in a timely fashion,” Horowitz says. “Now it’s an emergency. They’re not going to get it done by the deadline anyway.”

Commuter advocate Janna Cherwitz says that she hopes that NJ Transit does make the deadline. She says that commuters are now paying for years of transit underfunding in New Jersey.

Commuters who wish to use the roadways to travel to and from New York City instead will soon also see delays due to a major construction project on Route 495 – the roadway leading to the Lincoln Tunnel.

The project starts Aug. 17 and is expected to last over two years.

“Unfortunately prior administrations have really not done all they can do to put money into our aging infrastructure, and you’re seeing the results of that - mass closures to get these roads, bridges and train lines safe and reliable,” Cherwitz says.

A spokesperson for NJ Transit says that the temporary service suspensions should end in early 2019.

Two state lawmakers are now calling for hearings into recent rail delays and cancellations.

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