Report on Yesterday’s Adventures

Mostly Fighting with Ticket Vending Machine

We planned a fairly complicated agenda yesterday, around a visit to the N.Y. Botanical Garden holiday train show in the Bronx.  Read on.

We needed to catch an early train, so we aimed for the 7:06 a.m. from Basking Ridge. With resurging ridership, the 30 or so free parking spots are at a premium (the much larger number of permit-only spots remain largely empty, another example of government interference with the free market).  We arrived 15 minutes early just in case; fortunately there were a number of empty spaces. (The alternative is to drive to the Lyons station, where daily parking costs only $2 and in fact leads to an overall lower total cost, since it’s in a lower NJT fare zone.  However, when school is in session, all the roads that lead there are blocked by the hundreds of students driving their own cars to the local high school, and this peak is from 7 to 7:30 a.m., so that’s another crapshoot.

The First Ticket Purchase

Next step is to buy tickets.  The TVM again and again refused to accept any of the credit cards we had, so in frustration we fed it a $10 bill, which worked fine.

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PANYNJ Lease Deal Fracas May Affect Fares

A controversial deal in which the Port Authority leased the North Bergen park-and-ride lot to NJ Transit for just one dollar a year may be coming undone, and it may have implications for NJ Transit fares, according to reporting in the Star-Ledger by Steve Strunsky (March 20).  The deal is under scrutiny because of conflicts-of-interest allegations involving Port Authority Chairman David Samson, whose law firm had been retained by NJ Transit to help maximize revenue from park-and-ride lots.

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NJT Proposes Privatized Station Parking

New Jersey Transit is considering privatizing up to 60% of the parking facilities it now operates and has requested proposals from interested operators; 10 companies have responded, according to the Bergen Record (Nov. 18, by Larry Higgs).  The program, announced originally by NJT Executive Director James Weinstein in June, has the goal of increasing revenue to NJT; the private operators would be allowed to increase rates, and users could expect to pay more.  Some free lots might require payment under the program.  Up to 81 parking facilities operated by NJT directly or by municipalities for NJT are potentially affected.  Facilities potentially affected on the Morris & Essex lines include East Orange, Brick Church, Highland Avenue, Mountain Station, South Orange, Morristown, Morris Plains, Mount Tabor, Denville, Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Stirling, Lyons, Gladstone, plus Netcong and 6 other stations on the Montclair-Boonton line, according to the NJT request for qualifications to potential private operators (Oct. 14).