NJ commuters faced with decisions as 'Summer of Hell' begins

Brandon Parsons
July 11, 2017

Why? Because Amtrak is cancelling three New York-to-Washington trains; and, per the Globe's Adam Vaccaro, "more passengers between NY and Washington may be forced to squeeze aboard trains that start or end their journeys in Boston". Roughly 600,000 people pass through each day on the three railroads and on New York City subways.

While the commute had gone about as well as it could for most, the halls leading from NJ Transit trains to PATH trains were packed for over an hour and some people seemed bewildered at their new routine.

"It's probably going to add maybe 10 minutes, 15 minutes max", said Tom Verutes, commuting from Rockville Center.

Meanwhile, commuters Monday were experiencing the first day of reduced schedules to accommodate extensive track and signal repairs at Penn Station this summer.

NJ Transit's Essex, Morris and Gladstone lines will be the most affected, as trains will be routed to Hoboken.

A JULY 15 2014 FILE
NJ commuters faced with decisions as 'Summer of Hell' begins

At rail stations Monday morning, some commuters were unaware that their New Jersey Transit tickets would be cross-honored by PATH. Customer-service staff in yellow vests helped riders navigate the changes. The 35-year-old says everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other to get to their destination. He says some commuters also could be on vacation. "I've been using LIRR for the past 11 years and it's been good", said Tamer Seoud, chief financial officer for the non-profit Lutheran Social Services of NY. "Some of the buses are filling up, the ferries are working well, and our trains are all on time".

Displaced riders will be given access to added ferry routes and buses, but Governor Cuomo has called for an end to all non-essential roadwork in order to clear the roads for the increased number of people driving to work. So even those commuters who caught one of the few trains arriving at Penn Station before 7 a.m. will have to go to Hoboken to catch a train home. The repairs are expected to last almost two months and to include the closure of a handful of tracks.

Cuomo, touted as a potential Democratic challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, has also come under pressure to fix New York's problem-plagued subways.

The work was initially scheduled for nights and weekends over a few years, but two recent derailments and other problems that spotlighted the station's aging infrastructure convinced Amtrak to accelerate the schedule.

But he conceded that the evening rush could be more dramatic, as commuters tend to travel out of the city in a tighter time window.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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