While NJ Transit rail service has been returning slowly after the massive damage of Hurricane Sandy, riders’ frustration has been mounting, and not just over the lack of service, writes Mike Frassinelli in the Star-Ledger (November 13). The riders are also angered by what is perceived as a lack of communication from NJ Transit about the situation and when riders might expect relief.
The lack of information flow seems to arise from a desire by NJ Transit not to raise false hopes by making promises they might not be able to keep. NJ Tranist Executive Director James Weinstein says, “We have been conservative in predicting what service is going to be available, because we don’t want to say something and have people sort of plan their lives around that and find we can’t deliver.” The complex flood-related problems means “we’re dealing with a situation nobody has had to deal with before; there’s not a cookbook for this stuff.” However, Josh Crandall, founder of Clevercommute.com, said that NJT could do better. “To say, ‘We don’t know, and we don’t know when we’ll know,’ that doesn’t work,” Crandall said. He noted that although schedules were posted on the NJT Web site, they were so tiny that they couldn’t be read.* Frassinelli’s article also notes that while 257 rail cars and 65 locomotives were damaged in the storm, Director Weinstein said that this was not a big problem: “We have more than enough equipment”, Weinstein said—and NJT hopes to resume service between New York and Long Branch on the North Jersey Coast Line later this week, good news for hard-hit Jersey Shore riders.
*The schedules are in PDF format; perhaps Mr. Crandall had a computer problem, as we had no trouble reading and printing a hard copy of the schedules. However, we did find that they were quite difficult to locate within the NJT Web site.— Editor
Update: printing the standard schedules does give the problem that Mr. Crandall cited; one must know where to look for the printable versions, which are different PDF files.—SJG, chairperson, 12 June 2021.