SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — NJ TRANSIT commuters were frustrated and angry Wednesday night about yet another service issue – this time, there are not enough seats.
The customers said they won’t stand for it. Riders are posting their complaints to NJ TRANSIT on social media with photos of people packed into the trains, standing up against doors and up and down the aisles.
Commuters have tweeted: “Standing room only at Princeton Junction for the 3rd time in 3 days,” “Aisles filled with people on a train that is ordinarily a double-decker,” and “Please explain why I must still pay full fare for service that’s late 90% of the time & often without a seat.”
So how is NJ TRANSIT responding. CBS2’s Meg Baker was demanding answers Wednesday evening.
Along with late trains, the standing room only situation is becoming the norm for many NJ TRANSIT commuter.
“It’s always super crowded. There’s never a seat. The wait times are really long, and it’s always like wall-to-wall people,“ said one Metro Park commuter.
“I normally take the train between 7:30 and 8 going to Penn Station, and I haven’t been able to get a seat the past few days,” said Fonda Pride of Secaucus.
Social media has exploded with complaints from riders such as Keith Hayden on the Pascack Valley line. He said five cars usually pull up to his stop, but lately, there have just been four – forcing people to stand in the aisle.
Pride said she is frustrated. She buys a costly monthly pass.
“It’s $126, yeah, so I would like to have a seat,” she said.
Dina Racciatti’s line used to run double decker trains to ease congestion – until recently.
“It’s about 50/50 whether it’s a double decker or just one level on the train, so it’s different every day,” she said. “I never know what I’m going to get.”
So what’s the deal, NJ TRANSIT?
The agency would not go on camera, but acknowledged a shortage of trains, saying it is “currently working through a backlog of weather-related equipment issues and is returning cars to service as quickly as possible.”
NJ TRANSIT said equipment issues include snow, ice, and salt getting jammed in doors. When train operate through snow, it gets into electrical equipment and sometimes into brake rigging.
State Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Madison) said 230 rail cars and locomotives are out of service and just sitting at the Meadowlands Maintenance Complex – useless to commuters.
NJ TRANSIT was ranked second worst in the country for train breakdowns by a federal agency in 2016.
Gov.-elect Phil Murphy is calling for the resignation of a number of senior employees at NJ TRANSIT.