NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – NJ TRANSIT commuters are getting heated after the heavily criticized agency intentionally turned off the air conditioning on trains during the weekend heat wave.
“So many people and that makes the temp go all the way up… The air never circulates,” Melissa Perez said.
Those temperatures were up to 90 degrees according to one commuter Tuesday inside an NJ TRANSIT car. The commuter that goes by @thesecescalator on Twitter asked Gov. Phil Murphy, “isn’t not dying of a heat stroke a priority?”
“A lot of times I’m in between cars standing up the whole ride in which there’s no HVAC in between cars,” another commuter told CBS2.
For the evening commute home, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner saw the standing passengers firsthand. Luckily, the cars appeared to have finally cooled down.
It’s a stark contrast to weekend posts during the heatwave, where one rider wrote “no air and a packed delayed train,” and another posted a sweaty selfie calling the conditions provided by NJ TRANSIT “inhumane.”
The agency apologized for the inconvenience, especially to a pregnant woman who said she worried about passing out on social media.
Twice this week, CBS2 asked NJ TRANSIT for an on-camera interview. A spokesperson declined both times but defended the agency’s handling of the situation by deflecting questions to two tweets.
The tweets warned riders the extreme heat “may impact NJT rail service,” and reminded customers “to stay hydrated.”
Transit officials said by e-mail the severe temperatures forced some employees to purposely shut down the system that powers the air conditioners to keep the trains running.
Last week – regarding train delays and cancellations – Gov. Murphy said “we will fix NJ TRANSIT if it kills me and it might.”
Even those words aren’t enough to calm customers’ concerns.