Thursday, July 8, 2010

If you can't take the heat, Get out of the Northeast

In an attempt to placate what I will only describe mildly as ‘irate’ customers, NJ Transit put out a Customer Notice yesterday describing the circumstances around the cancellation of many trains on July 6th, 2010 as weather related mechanical difficulties ( One of many issues related to this statement is that these so called issues carried on throughout the night and into the July 7th morning commute when it was neither that hot or humid. How long does it take to reset these overheat sensors? More than 10 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours?

This statement is once again a clear and distinct acknowledgement that NJ Transit’s infrastructure, communication both internal and external, and customer care are horrendous at best. I won’t even get into the types within the notice.

In order to get a jump on what could be a rough commute yesterday July 7th my wife and I decided to leave the house at 640 to take the 656am train at the Watchung station in Montclair. The first announcement over the PA said the train was 8 minutes delayed, next announcement said 16 minutes delayed, then the Hoboken train pulled in and the conductor told everyone on the platform that the NY train was right on the tail of this train and would be here in 2 minutes. Then more time goes by so I check the NJ Transit website train advisories on my Blackberry where it says the train is 30 minutes delayed but on the move. The next announcement comes over the PA alerting us the train has been cancelled and we should get on the 738 train. Ironically the train advisory alert on NJ Transit’s website was still telling me the train is running and on them move. Next announcement the 738 train is 18 minutes delayed. Next move – we get on a DeCamp bus. So a commute that started at 640 ended up with us at work in midtown Manhattan at 920am, for a 2 hour a 40 minute commute. I would like to be compensated for the time I will never get back but know that asking for that pound of flesh is too much. I would simply like all customers to be compensated for these delays and cancellations as well as the money for the bus tickets I had to purchase, as well as wish oh do I ever wish, someone who knows what they are doing could run NJ Transit.

A few lessons learned…NJ Transit is and will probably always reactive rather than proactive. Their lines of communication within as well as external with their customers is as poor as it gets. I will never ever listen or follow the instructions of another conductor regardless of the situation. I will never again rely on them for any sort of information and always go with my intellect and instinct.

Living in the Northeast and specifically in the Tri-State area, we’re always going to be prone to snow and ice in the winter, prone to heavy rains in the spring and leaves in fall, prone to the 3 H’s in the summer with temps in the 90s and higher with a heat wave or two. These are not new weather patterns. They have existed for years and years and cannot and should not be used as excuses for poor service. These are trains were talking about, not glass slippers.
Stop blaming the weather and take responsibility for the service you provide. After violating us with an outrageous fare increase and service cutbacks, the least you could do is maintain your subpar service and bureaucratic nonsense, yet this period of cancellations is proof that just when customers think it can’t get any worse, NJ Transit proves that they can sink even further.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take and Take and Take

Well, they did it. Not sure who they (The Board) are but they approved a 25% fare hike. That should just fix everything, right?!?! I'm guessing the NJT board just gave themselves a 25% raise! Sure why not, I got a 1.5% raise over the last two years so a 25% fare hike evens things out.

Did I miss the communication that outlined where this deficit came from, who was responsible for it, how it will be corrected so as to not occur again?

How does a deficit this size just occur? It must have been growing and growing? Why at this point does it seem apropriate to raise fares the way they did? The 300 million deficit has probably been around for who knows how long and they now they needed an excuse to raise rates and fatten their pockets.

I wonder how the head of NJ Transit James Weinstein gets to work each day...Does he take the train or the bus? Is he incurring a 25% fare hike?

If and when this deficit is cut is NJ Transit going to recind the 25% increase? Of course not. of course the deficit will never be erased becuase no one in charge knows what they are doing. How else did NJT end up with a 300 million dollar deficit in the first place? It's the blind leading the blind and nothing ever gets better. More money more money, things just get more expensive, services get worse, we work more and more, its an exhausting rat race!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Talkin Talkin Talkin

She goes on to describe her heritage by who married who and what this one’s last name was versus what someone else’s last name is and what that makes her. But in all honesty, the loud and long phone conversation she had on the train makes her plain rude and obnoxious. I don’t know exactly when it became socially acceptable for people to hold full phone conversations amongst a group of strangers. While society has gone the way of acceptance I don’t truly believe that it is. Keep your phone calls quiet and to a minimum. You’re on a train, not in your office or in your home. Have some respect for your own privacy as well as some respect for the fact that there are others around you who don’t want or need to hear your conversation.

"Potential" Fare Hikes in 2010

I love it when as a customer I find out about potential fare hikes and service cuts through the local news and not directly through NJ Transit. Putting that aside, NJ Transit claims less funding and decreased ridership are predominately the reason for what they refer to as potential yet we all know they are inevitable fare hikes. Ridership must really been down on other lines because my line is full to capacity to the point that I am and have been preaching more trains, not longer trains. I'm not claustrophobic by any means but I do get worried how packed my train can be and wonder how quickly we can all get off in the case of an emergency.

2 Hour commutes on multiple occassions lately

One track into NY again! Signal problems again! Amtrak overhead wire issues again! Blame it on what you want. It still affects your service and overall image. Eldridge Cleaver said it perfectly, “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem”. If you haven’t figured out how to fix, avoid, and work around these problems by now, then it is a clear indication that you are not part of the solution.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Do a Facebook group or person search using NJ Transit as the keyword phrase and see the amount of members who are as frustrated with NJ Transit as I am!

Autumn Foliage

For most of us the smell of chimneys, shorter days, apple cider, and the falling of beautifully colored leaves means fall. For us riders of NJ Transit's Montclair-Booton line, it also means trains slipping on the tracks at Glen Ridge due to oily resins from the leaves on the tracks. Don't hate me GR riders, but maybe the train should skip your stop so that it can build up speed at Bloomfield and coast into Bay St.

Why did NJ Transit put the train in the middle of the woods to begin with? How great would it be if it was adjacent to Bloomfield Ave. Almost like an outdoor subway...