NJ Transit to put more trains in service to reduce overcrowding

An NJ Transit train approaches the New Brunswick train station. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

An NJ Transit train approaches the New Brunswick train station. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Gov. Phil Murphy is taking steps to ease overcrowding on New Jersey Transit trains, saying the public deserves immediate relief.

New Jersey Transit has been 37 train cars short of the number needed for full daily service, according to Acting Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scacetti.

She said 20 train cars that have been sitting in rail yards waiting for installation of Positive Train Control equipment are being put back into service.

“They don’t need to stay there and wait, so they are going back into service,” she said. “And the idea here obviously is to increase capacity and allow our commuters to sit down on the train as opposed to stand in crowded trains.”

Twenty other rail cars will be leased from the Maryland Transit Administration.

“It allows us to have some cushion so that if there are mechanical difficulties or any other issues and we have to take a car off, we an immediate replace a car and we’re not putting cars out that aren’t full sets,” she said.

Murphy said some repair work is being outsourced and New Jersey Transit is meeting with its suppliers on ways to have more parts available.

“The goal is to ensure a ready supply of parts before, I emphasize before, they are needed so repairs can be made sooner and cars can more rapidly be returned to service,” he said.

And to deal with concerns about staff shortages, recruitment efforts are being increased to get skilled repair workers and engineers.

Those steps won’t solve all of the agency’s problems, Murphy said, but should begin to alleviate some of the biggest headaches for commuters.

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