What you need to know if you use NJ Transit during the Pope's visit

NEWARK (WABC) -- NJ TRANSIT has rolled out plans for North Jersey customers during Pope Francis' visit to the area on Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25.

Large crowds are expected and enhanced security measures will be in place. If you are going to any of the events, the best time to travel will be off-peak and NJT recommends purchasing round-trip tickets in advance.

Customers should also be prepared for longer wait times especially immediately following the Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday evening.

"With crowds moving into, out of, and around New York City on Thursday and Friday of the Papal visit week, NJ TRANSIT's regular customers should know that this will be very far from their normal commute," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim.

NJ TRANSIT will operate additional rail service during the off-peak into Penn Station New York and enhance its bus service into Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) throughout the day. Normal football Game Day rail service will run on Thursday and Sunday for the Giants and Jets games, respectively.

Signage and posters will be available at all major rail stations and bus terminals to inform NJ TRANSIT customers of travel options. Also, NJ TRANSIT Ambassadors, who are knowledgeable about travel information during this special Papal event, will be on hand to assist customers.

Special queuing in Penn Station New York will also be in place to handle anticipated crowds. The new busing operations in place at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) should help vehicles, and customers, travel to and from the terminal more quickly.

In addition, the majority of buses do not travel on New York City streets and traverse from the Lincoln tunnel directly onto PABT ramps, avoiding any traffic diversion which may be implemented due to the Pope's motorcade, unless it impacts the Lincoln Tunnel.

NJ TRANSIT is also working closely with area transportation partners to provide alternate transit options throughout the visit. For example, customers can transfer to PATH service at Newark Penn Station or
at Hoboken where they can also travel via NY Waterway. NY Waterway will operate their regular service for Thursday and Friday but will have boats on standby if needed. They also are modifying their bus schedule to coincide with the Papal parade.

NY Waterway also has additional commuter ferry capacity from a number of locations to accommodate New Jersey residents coming to New York City during the Papal visit.

Ferry service is available to West 39th Street in Manhattan from Port Imperial in Weehawken, 14th Street in Hoboken and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. These routes operate all day, with departures every 10 to 30 minutes. Morning and evening rush hour service is available from Edgewater in Bergen County to West 39th Street, a 13-minute crossing every 30 minutes. Morning and evening rush hour service is available from Belford/Middletown in Monmouth County to Lower Manhattan in 40 minutes and to West 39th Street in 65 minutes with departures every 30 minutes. There also is service from Hoboken Rail/Ferry Terminal and Jersey City's Paulus Hook, Liberty Harbor and Port Liberte to the World Financial Center and to Pier 11 at Wall Street.

Amtrak will provide direct rail service to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia with some trains making stops in New Jersey including Newark, Metropark, Princeton Junction, Hamilton and Trenton. For more information on Amtrak service, please go to www.amtrak.com/papalvisit.

NJ TRANSIT has created a special Papal webpage will more detailed information for visitors. Please visit www.njtransit.com/papal for any updated NJ TRANSIT Papal travel news.
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