Everyone is angry and bitter about the announced summer reroutings to Hoboken for NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex trains—even the announcements about the reroutings.
The official news release from NJ Transit about the planned six-week shuffling of all M&E trains scheduled for Penn Station begins on a pissy note: “NJ Transit rail customers have been forced to deal with delays, derailments and unreliable service because Amtrak, which owns the tracks our service relies upon, has neglected the maintenance of its critical infrastructure for years.”
The announcement goes on to say, “Long overdue Amtrak track repair work will significantly disrupt travel this summer for customers who normally travel on the Morris & Essex Midtown Direct service to and from Penn Station New York.” (All Midtown Direct trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line will operate on regular weekday schedules with minor time changes to/from PSNY.)
And NJT’s approach was actually more civil than the one taken earlier on Tuesday by Gov. Chris Christie. The New York Times reported that Christie said, “We know we can’t trust Amtrak,” in an article that added, “Mr. Christie expressed no faith in Amtrak’s ability to keep any trains running on time. He said that he agreed with Mr. Cuomo that the long-term solution to the frequent disruptions and derailments at Penn Station is to replace Amtrak as the station’s operator, ‘given Amtrak’s duplicity, their dishonesty and their inability to keep this infrastructure in a state of good repair.’”
In addition to those who are mad at NJT and Amtrak are officials who are taking issue with the singling out of the M&E line for rerouting to Hoboken (all other train lines will still go to Penn Station, though with expected delays). Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum co-wrote a letter to Gov. Christie and the heads of NJ Transit that said, “We are registering our objection to the decision…we completely understand that these repairs are necessary but feel this decision will disproportionately affect our residents who work in New York City.” The letter notes that the decision to reroute only MidTown Direct trains “was made without any consultation with the elected leaders of the towns affected.” (Read the full letter here.)
Inevitably, there are those who are just tired of the ongoing debacle of NJ-to-NY train service and are giving up. Reuters talked to Montclair resident Jessica Pansini, whose “scheduled 45-minute commute through Penn has slowed to 2.5 hours,” leading her to make a big change: “She was offered a lateral job in New Jersey and said news that summer track repairs was ‘80 percent’ of the reason she accepted, ditching her dream job in Manhattan.”
How are you reacting to the planned changes to NJ Transit’s approach to the summer Penn Station repairs (and the inevitable congestion/delays)? Fits of rage? Weary resignation? Are you making other plans for summer commuting?