NJ Transit taking longer to fix problems, long waits

March 12, 2012 3:12:03 PM PDT
It's taking longer to fix the problems and longer to wait for a train for passengers of New Jersey Transit.

A new report says the old infrastructure is breaking down more often and it's dramatically increased the time it takes to fix it, and that's costing the economy.

"It is the life blood of the economy, and if we're going to rebound from this recession, we need to invest smartly in our infrastructure," said Janna Chernetz, Esq., Tri-State Transportation.

NJ Transit is trying to keep more than a thousand miles of track, and its operating systems running smoothly for the millions who depend on it daily.

It can be challenging at times.

"You're looking at an antiquated system, more than 80 years old," said John Durso, NJ Transit.

Break downs and delays of course affect their customers.

You know what a late train means.

"I have to call my boss; he says get here when you can," said Jason Hernandez, a Newark resident.

A Wall Street Journal report says the number of NJ Transit delays are down by 11% from 2010.

But, it also says the delays it does have, are longer, growing by more than an hour in a two year period.

"I ended up catching a can because the train was so late," said Emem Uvom, a Newark resident.

Transit spokesman John Durso says they're throwing as much money as possible towards upkeep.

The agency pays Amtrak $100 million a year to use Amtrak's rails, especially along the busy Northeast Corridor.

Of that, Amtrak spends $27 million on new equipment.

Durso says NJ Transit takes the checkbook out again, spending an additional $43 million to replace worn parts, add new trains, and upgrade wires and signals.

He says that helped the old system make 80 million passenger trips with a 95% on-time rate last year.

"And we did that in spite of incredible elements, a horrible winter, October snow storm, hurricane, and other incidents beyond NJ Transit's control," Durso said.

Durso and Chernetz both say, more federal money is needed, not yet coming, but needed, as more people are leaving their cars at home.

"As gas goes up, ridership goes up and it's important we keep our infrastructure in a state of good repair," Chernetz said.

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