NJ Transit in hot seat over commuters’ ‘Summer of Hell’

A New Jersey Transit train leaves the Bound Brook Station in New Jersey. Commuters have faced many train cancellations recently. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A New Jersey Transit train leaves the Bound Brook Station in New Jersey. Commuters have faced many train cancellations recently. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New Jersey lawmakers are expected to grill NJ Transit officials Thursday after repeated train cancellations and delays in the past few weeks.

The biggest question may be why commuters weren’t notified of the cancellations.

“Where was the information for the commuters? Why weren’t they getting that information? Was it disorganization within New Jersey Transit? Was it simply they didn’t have the answers?” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.

Assemblyman Anthony Bucco said it was disturbing the transit agency did not foresee the problems that have left commuters waiting on platforms for trains that didn’t show up.

“New Jersey Transit realized that they’re dealing with positive train control,” said Bucco, R-Morris. “They’re dealing with a lack of staffing. And it was their responsibility to be able to provide communications to its ridership far enough in advance for them to make alternate arrangements.”

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz said she wants to know why transit officials didn’t have the same kind of planning like they did last year for track construction work when things went much better.

“We anticipated a summer of hell, but it was not a summer of hell. We saw buses in place at those train stations to take the place of trains that couldn’t get into Penn Station,” said Munoz, R-Union. “We saw that there was a coordination with NJ Transit and through the state with a ferry service, which is private service.”

Providing those extra travel services could be costly; Bucco said the Legislature would have to determine whether the state could afford them and how to pay for them.

The Assembly committee hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Statehouse in Trenton.

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