NJ Transit announces plans to help improve customer relations

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New Jersey Transit and Gov. Phil Murphy announced plans to help improve the relationship between the agency and its riders.

For months, NJ Transit riders have complained about delayed and cancelled train service. NJ Transit officials blamed staff shortages and the installation of the positive train control (PTC) safety system for the delays.

NJ Transit announced Tuesday a new system of communicating with its riders, such as sending out push alerts on digital and social media platforms to alert passengers of delays. The agency is also establishing a social media team and a special unit that will closely monitor train platforms to let people know about crowding or backups.

RELATED: PATH completes positive train control safety system installation
RELATED: Ex-NJ Transit official says he was fired for exposing mismanagement

NJ Transit will also be increasing hiring to fill positions that have caused staff shortages.

“NJ Transit during the last six months has been highly successful in our recruiting efforts, receiving more than 5,000 applications for engineer positions which our human resources department is now processing,” said NJ Transit executive director Kevin Corbett. “We've incentivized current conductors to become engineers, leveraging their existing railroad knowledge."

Officials also announced that PTC installation is 95 percent complete and that NJ Transit will meet the 2020 federal deadline.

Three other major local railroads are also undergoing PTC installation. Amtrak says that locomotives were about 89 percent complete and track segments were at 82 percent.

The Long Island Railroad says that both locomotive and radio tower installations are complete. Track installation is at 88 percent.

Metro-North Railroad needs to complete the most work. Officials for that rail line say that track segments are only at 8 percent completion.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that installation on the PATH trains is 100 percent complete. The Federal Railroad Administration certified the completion earlier this week.

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