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

Despite a little crowding on some trains, most NJ TRANSIT riders arriving at Penn Station had no complaints about the morning commute.

Road construction will be suspended near New York City to ease traffic congestion during Penn Station repairs, Gov. Cuomo announced Sunday. More buses will be added from Hoboken as well. This was not known immediately, on Twitter New Jersey Transit. Two LIRR riders are already suing the MTA, the LIRR and New York City Transit-alleging negligence for the amount of emotional distress they've endured. The rail tunnels under the Hudson River, which connect Manhattan to New Jersey and the rest of the country, are more than 100 years old and were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. "Everybody's just bumping into each other, pushing each other to get to their destination". New Jersey Transit is diverting some rush hour trains to Hoboken, where passengers can switch to trains operated by the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, or to ferries. He says some commuters also could be on vacation.

As a way for the thousands of affected commuters to avoid the inevitable headaches they will face while the work continues through September 1, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota suggested on Sunday that they "try to come in earlier - or later if your job allows it".

Service has been stepped up by trains, buses and ferries in anticipation of the busier commute.

Penn Station, which Amtrak took over in the 1970s, handles twice as many daily train movements, about 1,300, as it did then. "I actually moved to Hoboken to not deal with this from Bergen County because Penn Station was so bad and now I feel like we're dealing with it all over again".

In response to the issues, PATH is adding enough trains so that one will arrive every five minutes.

Several hundred thousand commuters on the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit will have to contend with fewer trains during peak periods, the result of track closures in Penn Station.

Still, the real test for the "new normal" won't come until the weather, equipment problems or police activity somewhere along the train line interrupts service.

Commuters are advised to sign up for MTA alerts, buy tickets ahead of time and travel closer to the start or end of rush hour to avoid crowds.

  • Joey Payne