A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking NJ Transit to a Concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center


UPDATE 21 Aug 2012: LiveNation and the local police had things well in hand this afternoon at Aberdeen-Matawan. Hundreds of young people filed off the trains down a cordon towards a large group of waiting buses, all without apparent incident. Even the conductors on the train were paying closer attention to the crowding in the coaches. There may be some hope for this shuttle service yet.

UPDATE Aug 2012: There have been a couple of crowd control issues at the train station this year. The police blame a shortage of buses. See this Patch article and notice the many comments from locals complaining about the shuttle. 

UPDATE Sep 2011: I wrote the article below two years ago. While the shuttle still runs as described, LiveNation no longer posts information about the shuttle on its website. There is a small note saying to check their site for updates, but there are none that I could find. The instructions I used to provide on how to find the information on LiveNation are no longer valid, so I've edited them out. They've changed their website design and removed the links and pages I had described.  I'm not sure why. If someone knows why, let me know.

Also, you should know that while the shuttle has had few incidents, one or two concerts have brought in a particularly rowdy crowd that got out of hand and the police were called in to break up a near riot. The incidents made the local papers. Both the bus company and the police now try to anticipate which of these events might draw a large and rowdy crowd so additional buses and police can be on hand to keep things calm. 

The lack of official public information about this shuttle service makes my article quite popular. Glad to help out and I hope you enjoy your show. I've modified the text below for clarity. Feel free to post comments or send me an email to update me on the service. - Pat

For those of you looking for information about getting to a concert at the PNC Bank Arts Center by train and shuttle bus, you can try checking out LiveNation, which operates the web page for the former Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel. They claim to provide updates on shuttle service, but I didn't see any information there today. The following information about the shuttle service used to be provided by LiveNation but I don't see it on their site anymore:

Ride NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line train to the Aberdeen/Matawan station. PNC Bank Arts Center provides free shuttle bus service directly to our front gates. The shuttle bus will start running continuously two hours before show time until after the performance. The last shuttle bus leaves the PNC Bank Arts Center at 11:30 p.m. even if the performance is still in progress.

Here are some directions on where the bus picks you up at the Aberdeen-Matawan rail station. You will arrive at one of the raised Aberdeen train station platforms. After you exit the train, move to the steps at the end of the platform towards the back of the train. If you arrived on Track 1, you will have to carefully cross the railroad tracks and street. Do not cross against the signal as trains can surprise you by entering the station from the opposite direction of your train. A few local trains stop on Track 2, so you won't have to cross the tracks.

Cross the street that intersects the tracks. Be careful as the streets around the station are typically congested with commuters rushing to get home, both on foot and in cars. Make your way towards the white stucco (former Matawan train station) building  Your shuttle bus to the concert typically awaits passengers by a long, narrow strip of concrete island just across the street from the entrance to the white building. I've never seen any signage in the station or on the bus, so take note of these instructions as the parking lot is vast and many commuters are unaware of the shuttle.

43 comments:

  1. thanks for the info on the shuttle bus. Does the shuttle bus to PNC have a logo or name on it? Thanks

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  2. I added a picture of the yellow Bluebird bus you're asking about. I can't quite make out the name of the bus company in the picture, but it is the only school bus in the lot. Sometimes the bus sits in front of the white station, sometimes across the street from the station. And sometimes there are two buses. Looks like it says Lyons Bus Co.

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  3. New Jersey must be the only state in the country that builds an Arts Center and makes it impossible to get there.

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  4. Unbelievable last shuttle bus leaves the place even if the show is on, come on?? is that serious?? that means I have to lose the end of the show just to take the ride?? what about taxis?? is service taxi around there??

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  5. is this shuttle bus on time?

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  6. I would like to know if it's possible to take a taxi too?
    Will it be possible to get a taxi after the show?

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  7. noise ordinance laws say the show must end by 11pm, so the 11:30 shuttle bus is not an issue...

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  8. I am coming from NYC. Does the shuttle run after 7 PM to the Arts Center? I am worried if I have trouble getting there before 7 - the shuttle won't be available. Any help would be appreciated.

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  9. There were three buses sitting in the lot awaiting passengers when the train from NYC arrived at Aberdeen-Matawan station at 8:02 pm tonight. I guess it depends on when the concert starts.

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  10. I've significantly edited the article on the shuttle service between Aberdeen-Matawan train station and the PNC Arts Center.

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  11. Has anyone ever taken a taxi from hazlet Holliday inn to PNC? Is there taxi service?

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    1. I'm unfamiliar with Hazlet cab companies. Perhaps Colts Neck Taxi and Limousine?

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  12. Does anyone know if the shuttle bus is still available?

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    1. The shuttle is seasonal. I've not seen their buses yet this year at the train station, but it might be early.

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  13. I saw the shuttle (and people boarding it) on Friday evening. There's a photo in a new blog article. The bus still meets riders across from the white station building. If you're coming from NYC seeking the shuttle, this usually involves walking towards the back of the train, going down the steps at or near the end of the platform, crossing the railroad tracks, crossing a road and looking slightly to your right for either a yellow bus or a long concrete curb in the parking lot across from the white square building before you. That's where people meet the bus. Be careful crossing the road and walking in the parking lot as commuters, their kiss and ride spouses, and taxi drivers can all be crazy drivers at that time of day. Traffic often stops as the mass of passengers enter the roadway at the RR xing, but there are exceptions. Be mindful of the traffic as you leave the fenced in area of the platform. Especially look to your left as you pass the RR xing arm. And don't ever cross the tracks when the gates are down. Trains come from both directions and will smush you into road pizza. Have a fun concert.

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  14. Last shuttle leaves even if the show is still going on? This is why people drive after drinking. The elected officials can do something about this so why don't they? Big talk about safety yet NO action to make the safe way happen.

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    1. If you're relying on the shuttle and it leaves you at the venue, you won't be driving drunk, you'll be cooling your heels in Holmdel waiting for a cab. And if you decide to drive to the venue and drink during the concert without benefit of a designated driver, you'll be cooling your heels in jail or kill yourself or someone else. The shuttle is a private service, so there's no one to vote out of office. If you're going to drive to the PNC Arts Center, make the proper arrangements to get home safe. And if you're relying on the shuttle, be mindful of the last bus. As I understand it, the venue has guidelines on how late concerts can go due to the noise they generate, so concerts aren't supposed to be running so late that you'd miss your bus anyway. Be mad at the venue or the band if you miss the last set because they've run over the scheduled time. You can listen to Jackson Browne's Stay Just A Little Bit Longer on your iPod on the bus.

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  15. Does anyone know how long the shuttle bus ride is?

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  16. I just want to confirm that this shuttle still runs. I want to go to Warped Tour at the PNC Bank Arts Center this Friday.

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  17. The show is at noon, from what I can see online, so your guess is as good as mine whether the shuttle will service this show. The shuttle still operates, in principle, but I don't know if they work daytime shows. Anybody?

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  21. Matawan-Aberdeen Patch has a featured article about the Warped Tour concert this Friday. It mentions the Matawan-Aberdeen train station, so it sounds like the shuttle will be operating. http://matawan-aberdeen.patch.com/articles/vans-warped-tour-to-bring-skaters-rockers-to-pnc-bank-arts-center

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  23. a note to NJ TRANSIT- FAIL!!...c'mon now- they have mass transit options to the meadowlands, to prudential, to atlantic city...ZERO POINT ZERO shuttle buses for events or bus lines that go by the PNC...I guess there ain't enough money in it...

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  24. wondering if thw shuttle still operates....concert tonight

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  25. The shuttle is still operating. They had half a dozen buses at the station the other day for a concert.

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  26. How early does the shuttle start operating before a show? And will they allow you to bring coolers on the bus?

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  27. The shuttle begins running from Aberdeen/Matawan train station approximately two hours before showtime and the last shuttle leaves PNC at 11:30 pm, even if the show is still going on, according to Buzz Guide. As for a cooler, I doubt you will get one on the bus, especially if it is loaded with beer. The trains stopped allowing booze this year, so getting the cooler to the bus could be problematic anyway. If you park at the train station and bring your cooler with you, I think you'll be having a tailgate party in Matawan, unless the cops put a stop to that option.

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  28. I suspect they depart about every 10-15 minutes, depending on the crowd, but I can't swear to it. There's typically a bus loading passengers at the station and a second, if not more, in reserve when the loaded bus departs for the venue. As for the return, I know even less about that. Perhaps some of the readers who've used this service could offer some details on this? I just happen to ride the train and live in the area, so I know the service is operating and some of the details. Those who have ridden the bus would be your best source.

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  29. I talked to one of the drivers today. I asked him about the shuttle departure schedule from the train station. He said the bus drivers know the train schedule and will sit and wait for a few trains to come in and then depart for the venue. There is no set schedule. For the return from the venue, the buses leave according to conditions -- if the bus is full, they leave right away, but otherwise they wait a bit and then leave. No set schedule except that there is a last bus rule, which is mentioned above. I believe he said 11:30 pm is the final departure for Aberdeen-Matawan station. He told me the venue pays for the bus service and manages whatever public information services there are. I hope this is helpful.

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  30. Are there taxis at the train station? We are going to a concert at PNC in August, but we need to arrive much earlier for VIP thing. We plan to take the train to NJ Aberdeen-Matawan station. Do you know if taxi's are available? Also, where would we catch the shuttle bus after the show? thank you!

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  31. I like USA Taxi at 732-977-5177. Let them know ahead of time just when you will arrive at Matawan and you should be able to make an arrangement. There is also Patsy's Taxi at 732-566-2375. Both are reliable.

    The taxis sit just below Track 1 -- the westbound platform, which in most cases will be the one you will be arriving on. You will see the taxis between the two sets of stairs that descend into the parking lot. Don't go to the end of the platform and cross the tracks or you will have missed their taxi stand.

    As for meeting the shuttle bus back to the train, I suppose there will be signs. Ask the staff when you get there. Or perhaps someone reading this can offer you that information. Have a nice time.

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  33. Nice info, thanks!
    On Aug 3, there were three buses at the station. One departed directly when there was nobody left between the station and the buses although there were only seven people on the bus.
    After the concert there were only two buses waiting which was enough.
    The ride back was very interesting for me. Although it was a nice, peaceful concert (O.A.R.), many young adults were hammering on the walls of the bus and shouting "Let's go, Giants!", "Fucking Obama" or "USA". I was very lucky to get off the bus.

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  34. Late notice, but I am going to a concert at pnc tomorrow night and I was wondering if you knew if the shuttle buses still are running?

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    1. Yup. I saw the bus today and yesterday and people going to get on it. I actually published an article on this very subject on 6/10/14. Have fun at your concert!

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  35. hi, we will be in Timesquare and need to get to PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ Sunday 8/17 5pm. What is the best route. Is it a combination of transit + taxi? How long will it take if trying to get to a 5pm sunday concert?

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  36. Catch the 1, 2, or 3 subway train downtown from 42nd Street (Times Square) subway station to the 34th Street (Penn Station) subway station. Penn Station is a train station. Buy tickets on New Jersey Transit from New York to Aberdeen-Matawan. Trains leave on the :07 on Sundays and are scheduled to take one hour and four minutes. So, you would catch the 2:07 pm train and get to Aberdeen-Matawan at 3:11 pm to be on the safe side. There has been some weekend track work between NYC and Newark which could delay your trip. There should be a charter bus that looks like a school bus at Aberdeen-Matawan station to take you to your concert. I don't know precisely how long it takes to get from the Aberdeen-Matawan station to the concert venue, but probably about 20 minutes or so. The shuttle bus is free. If you are heading back to the city, the last trains leave at 11:59 pm and 12:49 am, arriving at 1:18 am and 2:03 am, resp. If you are making the round trip, you might get an "off-peak" discount round trip price for your tickets. Ask or check the NJ Transit website. I readily Googled a pdf of the NYC subway map. The main thing is to give yourself plenty of time because you are traveling on Sunday. If for some reason the free shuttle isn't operating that day -- and I have no reason to believe they won't be there - you can hire a cab -- Patsy's Taxi (732.566.2375) and USA Taxi (732.977-5177) are two reliable services in Matawan. They are often on duty at the station. I hope this helps.

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  37. does anyone know if there is bus transportation form south jersey ie: Toms river to the arts center? i'm looking but not finding. thanks for any helpful responses.

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  38. Your best bet would be to have someone drop you off at Point Pleasant train station and ride the train up and back. Buses from Toms River to Point Pleasant take over an hour and a half for the sixteen mile ride, coming and going. That would make for a long day. And cab fare round trip is probably about a hundred dollars -- you could share a ride, I guess. I think they were offering rides to PNC from Red Bank at one point; not sure about now. Red Bank would save you time over Aberdeen-Matawan, I suppose. Maybe someone from your area will have some ideas for you? I'm unfamiliar with the Toms River transportation situation.

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