(UPDATED) @NJ_TRANSIT: Give Us A Montclair-Boonton Line Update

BY  |  Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 7:14am  |  COMMENTS (31)

Update: NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder confirms that there is a possibility of limited service returning to the Montclair-Boonton line later this week, as previously mentioned by NJ Transit executive director James Weinstein.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and ask that they continue to be patient. The destruction has been devastating and we are working nonstop to restore service. We know that it’s been a hardship for our customers,” says Snyder, who adds that the limited service would mean less than the usual number of trains normally offered.

“The capacity into New York Penn remains limited and there are special schedules on other lines because of the limited capability we have to get trains into New York Penn Station because of other areas of track that are affected.”

Snyder adds that she will contact Baristanet as soon as there is confirmation of any limited service being restored to Montclair-Boonton line. As soon as we hear, we will update readers here (and on Twitter and Facebook).

A reader also writes of parking problems:

At Grove Street Newark Light Rail station in Bloomfield, daily parking was filled by 8:25 am, dozens if not a hundred empty permitted and “visitor” parking spaces. Employee at the reception refused to allow parking in the Permit spaces; appeared surprised when I told him there was no service on Montclair Boonton line (“I don’t know anything about that”). Said to park on street, but all area street parking is 2 hr parking. NJT Customer service guy on phone seemed to think that it might be a good idea to allow parking in those empty spaces, and he would “pass it on to his supervisor.” This is so beyond incompetence.

One Montclair commuter, lawyer Daniel Clement, even considered chartering a bus. The idea was put on hold, but this was where his thinking was:

I am not a business, but like you, a commuter, frustrated by the hellish lines at the PA as a result of the loss of train service. I want to arrive at work at a reasonable time and not have to leave at 3:30 to beat the line.

I am looking for 50 people to commute with on a chartered bus every week until the trains resume service. Because I work too- I am not a bus company, I am not looking to for one day or morning only riders. I want to “sell” in only weekly blocks. You are free to sell or share your tickets.

By my estimate, the cost would be $75-100 per week. I would have the bus pick up at Walnut Street station- and drop out somewhere like 40th and 7th so that there is little travel in the city as possible. The bus will leave at the appointed times. 8:15 and 5:30.

Let me know if you are still interested.

Last night, the town of Montclair urged residents to help NJ Transit “assess commuter needs.” Meanwhile, Montclair-Boonton line commuters have been making their needs loud and clear on Twitter, especially after yesterday’s bus accidents at Lincoln Tunnel created a commuting nightmare.

After saying they were exploring additional options for Montclair Boonton line customers, NJ Transit began offering free shuttle bus service between Bay Street, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield Avenue stations and Weehawken Ferry Terminal on Friday, November 9.

Despite a mention to the Star Ledger of limited service possibly starting this week, on the NJ Transit website, NJ Transit only offers this less than hopeful message on the Montclair-Boonton Line:

This line has experienced significant damage to overhead wires, especially on the Montclair Branch. In addition, flooding in Kearny has caused rail washouts making rail traffic impassable. Service remains suspended until further notice.

Baristanet commenters have been registering their frustrations, along with suggestions like this one:

Why can’t NJT buses take us to the newly-running Morris & Essex stations near GR and Bay street? It might save, oh, 2-3 hours each way commuting for most of us. In what universe is the current NJT plan practical for any of us? None!

31 Comments

  1. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  November 13, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    Bay Street to the ferry is certainly innovative, but doesn’t do much for anyone who can’t get to Bay st. And is still a long and cumbersome commute. Why not have a shuttle that picks up people at key stations where people have paid for permits – MSU, Upper Montclair, Watchung, GR, and take people to the Park and Ride in Allwood or another train that’s running? Ther are now trains much closer than Weehawken and its a win win for NJT since they’ll get to keep paying customers on their own trains or buses.

  2. POSTED BY huh_wha  |  November 13, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    Understood, Sandy did a lot of damage. Understood, it may take weeks to rebuild the track through the Kearny Marsh. Understood, we’re going to have to slog through for a while.

    NOT UNDERSTOOD: Why NJT is keeping everything a big secret. No publicly-available work plan for rebuilding the Kearny tracks? Secret test trains slinking through Montclair in the night like stealth bombers? Wink-and-a-nod hints from NJT field workers that “limited service will start on Monday”??? This is a major corporate fail.

    LIZ: On all of our behalf, could you perhaps get through to the NJT media office and see what they say for themselves?

  3. POSTED BY csfredericks  |  November 13, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    Is there parking at the Orange station? Also how bout they start a shuttle that goes from Bay St or Bloomfield to Newark PATH train?? That would be great

  4. POSTED BY deadeye  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    “Until further notice is not an answer.” We need some timeframe. Bay St. Shuttles to Weehawkin are a BS way to make it look look like action is being taken, when what they should be doing is abrogating any ridiculous “non-compete” agreements with DeCamp that prevent the utterly logical interim solution of running busses from at least several of the train stations in MTC into NY. That would actually be a benefit to the beleaguered community. If they are so intent on protecting DeCamp’s windfall, let DeCamp run the buses. But wait, NJT wouldn’t allow that because they would have to pick up the tab. This is bad, bad, management. Not to mention the fact that the “trained employees ” of NJT allowed over a third of the rail cars to be destroyed.

  5. POSTED BY deadeye  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:16 am

    Do the community a favor, and huh-wha says, do some investigative journalism here. Who is doing their job? What concrete steps are being taken? This is something that everyone cares about.

  6. POSTED BY friedchix  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:24 am

    Can the mayor get involved? I appreciate his advocacy efforts with PSE&G…but, he needs to now direct efforts with NJT. This transit situation is horrible. Honestly, unless you are on a packed bus or experience the hell of Port Authority at night people will remain clueless how bad this is.

  7. POSTED BY bloomfield mama  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I believe service is running from the Lyndhurst station. It takes 12-15 minutes to get there from Montclair. There’s a HUGE parking lot a block away. That’s what I’d recommend (and what I take on weekends, because it runs later and more frequently than Montclair trains). I dont know why NJT would ship people to weehawken for a ferry, when they could dump them in Lyndhurst. Or even Orange, for that matter!

  8. POSTED BY hobbes602b  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    I’m sure this has been brought up before, but is it possible to ask for additional help from private bus carriers in other states while we wait for repairs to be completed? At a minimum, it would help everyone who lives further down the bus routes.

  9. POSTED BY nochooches  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Totally agree with Deadeye on this. In a critical situation like this, NJT needs to abandon the stupid “non-compete” with DeCamp. I’m sure DeCamp would welcome some relief from their overcrowded buses. I tried calling NJT yesterday. They could not (or would not) tell me when trains would be up and running, and they also could not specify what the “significant damage” is. With regard to the tracks in Kearny, doesn’t the M&E line run on these tracks, too??? I left my name and number for a supervisor to call me back, which I knew was a waste of time. Meanwhile, we have to slog through 2-3 hour commutes each way into the city — and NONE of the other options are really any good. They are just that … other options. Instead of standing on DeCamp again for 2 hours this morning, I was lucky enough to have my husband drive me to Newark Broad, where I got on an extemely overcrowded train that was also 1/2 hr late coming into the station. So pick your poison, Montclair riders, we’re the forgotten line!

  10. POSTED BY Liz George  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    Trying to get answers.

  11. POSTED BY redrum  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    There’s no excuse for NJT to not be running trains to at least Bay Street. They appear to have fixed the issue in Kearny since the Midtown DIRECT from Dover is now running again. There are also no grade crossings until after Bay Street, so they don’t have to worry about gates not working. NJT is exhibiting incompetence of unparalleled proportions at all levels.

  12. POSTED BY hobbes602b  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:56 am

    I had the same thought, redrum. Is it a different tube? Could that be the issue? Either way, we share some of those tracks, so it’s awfully odd.

  13. POSTED BY redrum  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Also, the whole bus-to-weehawken thing is a miserable failure. Its unadvertised on the NJt website, no one knows where to go, the drivers keep getting hopelessly lost,the buses are making their own routes on whim, there are no signs at the stations, and no one working the line knows anything about anything. The one way trip is taking in excess of 2 hours, which leaves much to be desired.

  14. POSTED BY redrum  |  November 13, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Same tube, and both tubes are open again.

  15. POSTED BY spridgets  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:01 am

    Is the problem still a track washout in Kearny? At this point, there appears to be serviceable track between New York Penn Station, through Newark Broad Street, and up to the split where the Montclair Line diverges from the Morristown Line, which the NJT recovery map indicates has resumed some service. Unless there is extensive single-tracking through the swamp, the implication would seem to be that the track is serviceable. So where is the hangup? Yes, the Watsessing station area does flood, but that happens a few times per year, and that area is well above the elevation of the water damage further east on the line. Damage to overhead wires and fallen trees would seem to be something that folks in Montclair would notice.

  16. POSTED BY nochooches  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:03 am

    Reading these comments just gets me madder and madder because it seems like there is NO excuse as to why our trains aren’t running. Can’t someone in a position of power exert some pressure on NJT?!

  17. POSTED BY redrum  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    They must have fixed the tracks in Kearny since the MD’s out of Dover are running again. I’ve seen NJT running electric trains up and down the Montclair line late at night, so there isn’t a power problem either. By all accounts, the Montclair branch appears to be completely functional… so why all the cloak and dagger tactics by NJT?

  18. POSTED BY hobbes602b  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Seriously, just post an updated status! “We know a lot of you are curious about the status of the MB line. We’re working on it and we’re seeing improvements each day. Just ask the Midtown Direct folks. They’ve never even smelled a Decamp bus. Hang in there, riders, we expect to provide you an update that isn’t completely void of information any day now.”

  19. POSTED BY hobbes602b  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    WHOA: @DaveMONeill we hope to have limited service on the #MOBO by the end of this week.

  20. POSTED BY hobbes602b  |  November 13, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    I’ve asked if that information will be shared with more than just me, or if I’ve won VIP access to the inner workings of NJT’s secret society. So far, no answer. (via @NJ_TRANSIT: @DaveMONeill we hope to have limited service on the #MOBO by the end of this week.)

  21. POSTED BY huh_wha  |  November 13, 2012 @ 11:00 am

    Thank you, Liz, for breaking through the NJT Chamber of Secrets, and for the update.

  22. POSTED BY deadeye  |  November 13, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    Good information. Thought it was odd that the Morristown train was running, but the Gladstone branch was supposedly out because of the Kearney track problems when those lines meet in Summit. So we know that was baloney. I guess the “washout” is fixed if we’re getting limited service back… One big question is how many of the reportedly >30% of the cars, and I don’t know how many engines, that were flooded are ever going to be serviceable again. That’s a major league issue that could be with us for a long time, not to mention costs.

  23. POSTED BY redrum  |  November 13, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

    I’d love to hear NJT’s explanation as to why they left trains parked at sea level in a marsh when a storm with record-breaking tidal surges was predicted. Ooops! Unfortunately, NJT’s failures and mistakes are going to be very costly to us, as we will be the ones buying 260 new rail cars through exorbitantly raised fares.

  24. POSTED BY scott  |  November 13, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    One of the problems is that some of the geniuses that work for NJT thought it would be a good idea to park 65 locomotives and 257 rail cars in Kearney’s railyard. That railyard is in the meadowlands, that area flooded from the storm surge.

  25. POSTED BY friedchix  |  November 13, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    Thanks Baristanet for covering this issue

  26. POSTED BY eagleEye  |  November 13, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    Many of us need to get to Hoboken…not NYC. We are the minority, but there are a lot of us.

    HELP! Sitting in NYC traffic, only to turn off into Hoboken is painful.

  27. POSTED BY gerryg  |  November 13, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    Not getting much love from Clifton. According to NJ Transit, Clifton owns the Allwood Park & Ride and started charging people daily parking rates to park in the lot, as there’s a lot of train riders using the bus from the lot.

  28. POSTED BY dextius  |  November 13, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

    Just got a text from NJ transit saying limited service for montclair boonton line will return tomorrow!

  29. POSTED BY LiFer  |  November 13, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

    Trains will be running approximately once an hour. Not great but better than nothing. Modified schedule here.

  30. POSTED BY deadeye  |  November 13, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    Trains once an hour beats: “New York from Montclair? Why, you can’t get there from here.”

  31. POSTED BY njgator  |  November 13, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    gerry – The daily fee to park at Allwood is only $2….less than the all day meters at Bloomfield and way less than the daily fee Montclair charges to park at Bay Street.

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