NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A new NJ TRANSIT czar has been appointed to improve the rider experience.

CBS2’s Meg Baker met with the new chief and brought questions, comments, and a growing list of complaints from customers to the new executive.

MORE: NJ TRANSIT Names First Ever Customer Advocate

The transit agency was once hailed as a top of the line transportation service in the Tri-state.

“What did NJ TRANSIT used to be like? On time, reliable, you could count on it. I commuted for decades, bot on the trains and sometimes a bus,” Bruce Serlen, Montclair said.

That’s not the case anymore.

“There’s always delays, it keeps me back all the time. They’re always doing some work,” Carol Forte of Newark said.

Now, commuters may have a new friend at the agency. Stewart Mader has been appointed as the first customer advocate and chief customer experience officer.

NJ TRANSIT’s Stewart Mader (Credit: CBS2)

You may even see him on your bus or train.

“Change is coming,” Stewart Mader said. “But we are still going to have some days where service isn’t perfect. That is part of the transformation we’re going through.”

Mader says you can contact him directly through the NJ TRANSIT app – clicking “Contact Us” and then submitting feedback.

“I encourage people to submit thoughts, observations, ideas,” the customer service chief added.

CBS2 surveyed customers online and at stations Friday. One rider had some harsh criticism for the beleaguered agency.

“Their customer service is horrendous… Basically non-existent… Lateness, rudeness of conductors,” a Fanwood resident charged.

Other customers CBS2 spoke with say a simple thing to improve the customer experience would be cleanliness on the trains.

One of Mader’s first orders of business is to create a customer advisory council. He will be accepting applications later this year from NJT customers who have an interest in transit, have good ideas, and are willing to commit their time.

Mader previously worked with Port Authority leadership to establish the PATH rider’s council advisory board.

He also created the comprehensive New York & New Jersey subway map and built “transit standards” – a collection of best practices to streamline customer experience.

What are some of the things you want Stewart Mader to know about your experience on NJ TRANSIT? Tell us by clicking here. 


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