Train Delays Top Priority for NJT: Riders

Even as Veronique Hakim waited to be appointed NJ Transit’s new Executive Director, users of the state’s vast public transit system had some early advice for her, according to Larry Higgs, reporting in the Asbury Park Press and other Gannett newspapers: make the trains run on time, and stop the delays that have plagued riders through this winter.  Higgs quoted riders as saying they are “constantly late to my office,” and that service has “gotten worse and worse with the congestion and delays”.

Bus riders echoed similar complaints, and focused on conditions at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, where many NJT buses operate.  Veronica Vanderpool, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, faulted NJT for not adequately representing its customers with the New Jersey government, both the Legislature and the Governor, in order to obtain adequate funding.  “NJ Transit has credibility problems,” she said.  Some transit advocates welcomed Hakim’s appointment; Vanderpool said Hakim’s experience with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority gives her transit credibility, but “she needs to understand that New Jersey needs different things than New York.” said Phillip Craig, NJ Association of Railroad Passengers vice president.  He is acquainted with Hakim’s work through his prior consulting activities with the MTA.  “I have a great deal of respect for her professional capabilities.  She needs to be an advocate for her passengers and employees.  I liked (outgoing NJT executive director) Jim Weinstein as an individual, but it seems he was caught in a vise between policy coming down from Trenton and the desires of his staff,” Craig said, according to Higgs’ article.

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