NJ TRANSIT Rider Says He Had To Straddle Two Cars During Rush Hour

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Commuter rail service was back for the Wednesday morning rush hour, but it was a challenging ride for some straphangers.

David Spetgang, of Red Bank, New Jersey, said he decided to head over to Edison, where he hopped on a crowded Manhattan-bound NJ TRANSIT train on the Northeast Corridor line.

“What a mess,” he told 1010 WINS. “It was completely packed, a lot of people on the platform didn’t even make it onto the train.”

Once on the train, Spetgang said he tried to find a space to sit or stand, but instead found himself stuck between two rail cars.

“I was the unlucky person who got stuck in two cars at once,” he said. “I was kind of straddling the two cars. The wind’s coming at me from the gaps, ice was falling off, stuff was spraying at me — I assume it’s water, I hope it’s water.”

Spetgang said he was worried about his safety.

“Every time it moved I would kind of jolt, feeling like I was going fall out onto the tracks,” he said. “That was the first time I ever thought, ‘Hey, it’s so overcrowded that it’s making me a little nervous from a safety standpoint.'”

Septgang said the riders on his train seemed to be annoyed with the situation.

“We knew there as going to be less trains running and we all had to cram, it was just kind of an attitude of why was this being done?” he said. “It really could’ve been planned a lot better.”

For others, the day started out by waiting for a train that was running on a confusing schedule.

“This Presidents Day schedule is garbage,” West Orange resident Kim Singer told CBS2’s Raegan Medgie.

“They had the announcement yesterday that everything was going to run on holiday schedule and it’s not what they’re doing, it’s a completely erratic schedule,” another commuter said. “It would be great if they told us what was going on.”

“It’s been a two-hour commute from our house to get here to New York when it’s normally a half hour trip,” said rider Stacy Rapp.

At the Bay Street stop in Montclair, one train was first delayed and then conductors directed passengers on the wrong trains, Medgie reported.

“It was really hard, having to transfer over and back, back and forth,” one woman said. “Being told we had to go to one side, then having to transfer back over to the other side, it was terrible.”

In a statement to 1010 WINS, NJ TRANSIT said, “The overcrowding conditions were the result of the weather related impacts from yesterday’s storm which required operating on a President’s Day holiday schedule. Whenever possible, we ran extra passenger trains, including on the Raritan Valley Line, M&E and the Pascack Valley Line, to help alleviate some of the overcrowding conditions and to service customers where full trains may have had to pass for safety reasons. We anticipate being able to offer additional service for the afternoon. Customers are encouraged to monitor njtransit.com for information on afternoon service levels.”

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