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Commuters at Penn Station face myriad delays despite fare hikes

Twelve hundred passengers were stranded on April 14 on a New Jersey Transit train at New York Penn Station. The problem was due to an Amtrak power issue and was affecting all service to the Northeast Corridor. The train was disabled and a rescue train was dispatched There were no reported injuries. Then there was a 30-minute delay on all trains.

With all these breakdowns, NJ Transit should be a joke, but it’s not funny, it’s ridiculous. Every day there is a delay and breakdown on NJ Transit. Now it is even worse that it is a holiday weekend. People are stuck in New York and cannot get home to their families. What we are seeing are higher fares, less service, and more and more breakdowns. It is outrageous that NJ Transit fares have been raised nine times, but the service isn’t getting any better. We have seen more equipment breakdowns and derailments because of Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration’s failure to update our aging rail system. Instead of installing breaking equipment and improving our rails, the Christie Administration has cut public transit funding, which has burdened commuters with more delays and failures.

We once had one of the best transit systems in the country, but the Christie Administration’s mismanagement and failure to fund transportation has practically ruined it. We need to replace these antiquated braking systems and monitor our rail lines to prevent disasters and breakdowns, but we cannot do so if they keep taking the funding. All along the Christie Administration has played games with transit funding, but there are serious consequences. Instead of using the $8 billion of federal funding for capital upgrades like automatic braking, NJ Transit used it for tires and to keep the lights on. While there have been runaway trains and malfunctions happening along NJ Transit lines, the federal government even mandated NJ Transit to upgrade their system with an automatic braking system, but they have failed to do. This is because they keep cutting funding to make commuters safer. All of these cut backs mean the wheels are coming off the buses.

Jeff Tittel
New Jersey Sierra Club

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