An interesting article about Montgomery County, Maryland, and its increasing bus service and employer subsidies to entice more peopl eout of their cars:
Note that they have 30-minute frequency, adjust service based on automatic rider counts about 3 times annually, and just increased the subsidies to employers, who pay $25/employee to enter the program, which saves more than 10 times that amount for each employee. Is there something that NJ Transit can learn from this?
At the added August board meeting, a concept/design contract for this project, which began in April with an Innovation Challenge. The goal is to improve transit between Secaucus Junction and the Meadowlands complex. We question spending $3.5 million for the study—for that, we could surely have weekend service to Montclair State!—but given the approval, hope that they are actually investigating real needs, not unverified corporate allegations; that they consider using assets they already have—rail lines, primarily—and that the private entities that are looking for more options for employees and customers alike will be asked to contribute to the cost. We understand that there are contractual obligations, but they are very unclear, and we hope that the board insists on realistic cost projections and funding plans before going any further with this project.
Bus riders on NJ Transit get the short end of the stick, according to Alfred P. Doblin, editorial page editor of The Record newspaper. After 3 years of riding NJT buses to his job, Doblin should know. In the evenings at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, he writes, horrendous lines snake through the terminal as NJT riders queue up for buses. A main problem, Doblin says, is that buses have no place to park in Manhattan while waiting for their next trip; there is no garage. And no garage is in sight; according to Doblin, the answer is simple: transit officials just do not care about their customers. “When was the last time you saw a group of highly paid attorneys riding a bus?” he writes. And, says Doblin, the appointment of Veronique Hakim to head NJ Transit is symptomatic: “What concerns more is that there will be another lawyer running an agency that has nothing to do with making law.”
Doblin says that bus commuting is much more difficult than commuting by rail: “the schedules are confusing; the amenities are non-existent,” he writes. He points to the “dysfunctional” Port Authority and the relationships of its chairman, David Samson, as a likely reason that no bus garage has been built, or is scheduled.
Earlier this month, The Record met with Port Authority executive director Pat Foye and discussed the Authority’s capital plans. Foye confirmed that a previous plan for a bus garage fell through, and said that a solution would have to wait for a developer to come up with redevelopment plans for the bus terminal area—a bus garage might then be feasible. Foye, appointed by New York Governor Cuomo and thus part of the “New York side” of the agency, seemed more interested in limiting noise in the New York neighborhoods around the terminal, Doblin wrote.
Doblin’s opinion piece was formerly available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/246821551_Doblin__NJ_Transit_bus_riders_left_at_the_curb.html
For bus travellers on NJ Transit to or from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, it has been difficult to determine just when that next bus will arrive. However, NJT’s MyBus Now program will be extended in June to the Port Authority routes, completing a rollout that first began in South Jersey, and later added non-Port Authority routes in North Jersey, according to reporting by Mike Frassinelli in the Star-Ledger (Jan. 25). To use the service, access njtransit.com on smart phones or desktop computers, and access MyBus Now under “Rider Tools”. Riders with ordinary cell phones can text MyBus at 69287 with the stop and route number. The arrival estimates are only for buses expected in the next half hour, due to the uncertainties of buses in traffic; and the system won’t work for outbound buses in the evening rush from the Port Authority, again because jams can make arrivals unpredictable.
Continuing track maintenance on the Gladstone Branch this summer has required bus service replacing trains on weekdays between roughly 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.; riders should note that inbound buses leave 15–30 minutes earlier than the trains they replace, leading to longer journey times, which are longest for the most outlying stations. Outbound delays are less, up to about 17 minutes.
Riders should consult schedules and particularly note the location of bus stops, which in some cases are on adjacent streets and not at the rail station location.
The busing is scheduled to continue through August 12. The Lackawanna Coalition has expressed its disappointment that New Jersey Transit has not given notice of the outage before timetables were issued to the public.