WEEHAWKIN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Drivers who use the Lincoln Tunnel are being advised to consider alternatives.
This comes ahead of a repair project on Route 495 that’s supposed to last nearly three years.
But is mass transit prepared to handle even more commuters?
Drivers who use the 495 corridor to get into the city are hardened commuters who experience delays day in and day out. Unfortunately, it’s about to get much worse when one lane in each direction closes August 10 for months.
So what’s your alternative? Local and state officials are urging drivers to get off the roads and take mass transit. Commuters, however, question whether that’s a feasible option.
“Over packed, they take forever to get here,” one woman told CBS2’s Meg Baker. “It’s a disaster already, especially during the week.”
“They’re a bit overcrowded, definitely not always on time,” another added.
Is New Jersey TRANSIT prepared to take on more riders? As of Wednesday, there’s no plan to add more trains or buses, but the express bus lane will remain open, Baker reported.
Transit expert Martin Robins said the situation reminds him a lot of the Super Bowl in 2014.
“Everyone was encouraged to use mass transit, they flocked to mass transit, there was not enough capacity to handle the traffic. And it turned out to be a very unhappy situation,” he said.
NJ TRANSIT is already on its heels as it implements the federally mandated positive train control. Just Tuesday, multiple trains were cancelled in part because crews were being trained on the upgraded system.
New York Waterways said its ferries have room for commuters at all 10 terminals in Bergen, Hudson and Monmouth counties.
“We have the capacity to carry many more people. We carry about 35,000 people a day,” said Jennifer Schuck.
During rush hour, ferries leave Port Imperial every 10 minutes. Later on, every 20 minutes.
“We do have a system with NJ TRANSIT called the Go Pass,” Shuck said.
The combo ticket can be used on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail and on some NJ TRANSIT Bus routes.
It looks like commuters may be left to come up with their own contingency plans.
PATH is not planning any change in service or schedules as a result of the 495 work. The Port Authority does not anticipate much overflow from people who ordinarily drive using the Lincoln Tunnel.