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lammius

What Transit SHOULDN'T Be!

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NJ TRANSIT has been growing in terms of ridership and new services by

leaps and bounds in recent years!

New expansions to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail

River LINE light rail

Late 1990s introduction of Midtown Direct on most commuter rail lines

2002 opening of new Newark Airport Station & Monorail

2004 opening of Secaucus Transfer

2006-07 introduction of double-decker train cars

2012-2018 completion of the ARC Project

etc.

It seems (seems!) most of the recent big investments NJ TRANSIT has been

making are to serve the rail commuters from the suburbs and Gold Coast.

But what about the MAJORITY of NJ TRANSIT users? Ya know, the people in less affluent urban areas who depend on buses (bus accounts for a very large majority of NJ TRANSIT riders). These are the people who use transit not because they enjoy drinking coffee and reading the paper while they commute, but because they have no other choice! These people are captive riders. What accommodations does NJ TRANSIT make for this large portion of their revenue base?

Let's look at bus conditions in urban Essex County, NJ (incl. Newark,

Irvington, East Orange, and Orange).

I took all but one of the photos, but they are all the intellectual property of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University

==============

When stalking buses in Essex County the first thing you notice is that they are HEAVILY used! Look at the mid-afternoon queues to board westbound buses at

Market & Halsey Sts in Newark!

130337629.jpg

Market & Washington Sts, Newark

130337480.jpg

Busy Broad Street, Newark

130342608.jpg

Irvington Bus Terminal, Irvington Twp.

Many of the area's busiest bus routes converge on Irvington Terminal. The terminal is undergoing a facelift presently, not a moment too soon!

130337493.jpg

======

How does one find a bus stop in Essex County?

You could look for the obvious, spacious, accommodating bus shelters:

130337462.jpg

...or seek information from the streetside bus stop signs, with routes, destinations, and schedules well-displayed!

130337468.jpg

Clinton Ave., Newark

130337466.jpg

130337477.jpg

Bloomfield Ave, Newark

Or you could just find people who are standing alongside the road and join them:

130337478.jpg

MLK Jr Blvd., East Orange

This woman has been riding the buses long enough to know how to make waiting tolerable.

130337459.jpg

Main St., Orange

==========

Synopsis:

The buses are crowded

The bus stops are crowded

stops lack basic amenities such as benches, shelters, accurate signage

Cars FREQUENTLY park illegally, requiring bus loading/unloading in the middle of the street

Service is slow as stops are frequent and merging into traffic is difficult

Fare collection is outdated and lenghtens dwell time at each stop

High-floor buses lengthen dwell time

If ever I saw a place that could benefit from BRT this is it!

So as NJ TRANSIT's high-profile investments are aimed at getting suburbanites to think transit is a fun option (which I think is wonderful), what will the agency do for people who are transit-dependent, captive bus riders? Buses aren't the most glamorous of NJ TRANSIT's services, but they're the most vital to many parts of the state!

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Typical transit company mentality, ignore your loyal riders that have always been there while trying to attract newer, wealthier, whiter riders. It's kind of sad. My boss, when I worked briefly at a transit authority, said one time "one white lady is worth the voice of 100 black ladies." I'm all for attracting new riders, but not at the expense of ignoring who's already riding.

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Very good Lamm, i agree with metro on this too.

New Brunswick is heavily relied on its city licensed taxis to move people around so i can only imagine how crazy the demand is for Newark!

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I remember reading about the history of transit in Essex and Hudson counties. Both were once well served by an extensive network of streetcars. Of course all that's left of them now is the single line in Newark. And you're right about the poorest communities being left out of the major investments while being the most transit reliant! Northern NJ has been compared to metro Detroit in this sense, and I think this is very true. Of course it's a problem throughout the country.

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I remember reading about the history of transit in Essex and Hudson counties. Both were once well served by an extensive network of streetcars. Of course all that's left of them now is the single line in Newark. And you're right about the poorest communities being left out of the major investments while being the most transit reliant! Northern NJ has been compared to metro Detroit in this sense, and I think this is very true. Of course it's a problem throughout the country.

I've never heard that NNJ-Detroit comparison before but I think it's probably accurate (though I've never been to Detroit).

The streetcars were indeed in many parts of northern and central Jersey up until the late 1940s-mid 1950s.

It's a shame that Newark is left with only one line on the "City Subway." But there is currently an extension spur up to Newark Broad St rail station that will connect the Broad St station with Newark Penn Station. Which is GREAT for me b/c I can avoid going to Secaucus to transfer!

Here's a pic comparison...

The Cedar St Subway line diverted from the main Subway line at Military Park. Here is the tunnel entrance where the line came to the surface between Halsey and Washington Streets.

Pic 1: 1937

130337488.jpg

Pic 2: 1976

CedarSt.portal1976.jpg

Pic 3: 2004

130337491.jpg

My old boss at the Voorhees Transportation Center worked on a study to consider re-opening the Cedar St branch for light rail and running it down Springfield Avenue to Irvington Terminal. I don't know if/how NJT plans to proceed with that.

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Here's a press release about the Subway extension between Penn & Broad Street train stations. It appears it will be open this Summer!

http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/...20This%20Summer

It is hoped that this new line will then be extended south to link with Newark Airport, Port Elizabeth, and the Jersey Gardens area. That project, known as NERL (Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link) has been subject to several studies but I don't know that it's going anywhere fast.

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Here's a press release about the Subway extension between Penn & Broad Street train stations. It appears it will be open this Summer!

http://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/...20This%20Summer

It is hoped that this new line will then be extended south to link with Newark Airport, Port Elizabeth, and the Jersey Gardens area. That project, known as NERL (Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link) has been subject to several studies but I don't know that it's going anywhere fast.

Very good. Sounds like the once great transit network is finally slowly starting to be rebuilt.

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