WCBS 880

NJ Transit To Cut Rail Fares Amid Service Disruptions

September 20, 2018 - 5:39 pm

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- There's good news and bad news for rail commuters who use New Jersey Transit.
The good news: fares will be cut 10 percent from November through January. 
The bad news: the fare cuts are to make up for additional service disruptions as NJ Transit seeks to meet a federal safety deadline.

LINK: Full List Of Service Changes

"We're going to be having 18 out of our roughly 690 train trips we do a day, we're cutting 18, we're spreading that around our lines and we're balancing the schedule so that we'll try to make sure that no one train gets overloaded by crowding but it will inconvenience quite a number of our passengers will have to recalibrate their schedules," Executive Director Kevin Corbett says.

Many trains have been cancelled in the past few months to accommodate the installation of an emergency braking system called positive train control. 
Additional service disruptions are needed so the work is finished by the Dec. 31 deadline. Those changes are scheduled to go into effect in mid-October. 

Corbett says they're on track to make the deadline.

"We've nicknamed it internally 'Project Seabiscuit' so we're well behind many of the other railroads but we redid the program since I came here. We were 12 percent in February and we are now at 66 percent and have a clear path with our contractors and with the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) that we will make the deadline by December," Corbett said.
Full service is expected to be restored by mid-January. 

Corbett also addressed train cancellations due to a shortage of engineers.

"Unfortunately engineers I think people are not aware that it is a lot like becoming an airline pilot," Corbett said. "It takes about 20 months, so there's no magic wand unfortunately."

Meanwhile, New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick of Westfield says he just wants reliable service. 

"More importantly is making sure that commuters know whether a train is going to show up or not. We can take anything if we have knowledge and information and what the problem's been for the last six or seven months is people don't know if the train's going to show up. So I'll take a 10 percent and a give me a phone call to tell me whether the train's going to show up the night before," Bramnick told WCBS 880.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)