A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NJ Transit Gets Poor Grades in Recent Survey

The results of a recent NJ Transit passenger satisfaction survey are online. You can look at the overall results or drill down to particular train or bus lines to see how they fared.

The regional papers are all saying that passengers gave NJT a "C" grade. Blah blah blah. I don't know about your school, but at mine, 70-79% was the range of a C. 44% was a failing grade requiring a note home and maybe a visit by your parents to the school. 30% was time for the County Board of Education or Department of Youth and Family Services to intervene in the school or family, respectively. I doubt anyone is coming to the rescue of my commute. The Department of Transportation? Yeah, right...

North Jersey Coast train passengers who took the survey were outraged at high fares (30%), poor handling of service disruptions (33%), unreliable equipment (39%), poor announcements during service disruptions (39%), and poor on-time performance (41%). They gave the NJ Coast train a 37% score for "value for your money" and an overall score of 44%.

All levels of government should be encouraging mass transit by lowering fares, increasing schedules, and making it easier for people to get to and from train stations. Instead funding and services are being reduced. Stimulus funds and work programs should be more focused on mass transit and less on road construction. Christie cuts in aid to NJ Transit directly increased commuter fares. His dismissal of the federal rail project into New York City was amazingly short-sighted. Congressional efforts to kill funding for everything but their own salaries will also negatively affect mass transit.

Local planners should be looking to synchronize their transit assets. These assets should not be competing with one another. Some buses serve Metropark, but you won't see any buses at the Aberdeen-Matawan rail station (except the popular evening bus to the PNC Arts Center). In the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, the bus lines serve the Metro system. In general, buses here compete with trains.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I sometimes take the train into the city from Metropark. The fare is a little less than at Aberdeen-Matawan, so I can show my monthly there and pay nothing additional. I dread the train ride from there, though. It is often standing room only during rush hour. In contrast, I usually can get a seat at Matawan.


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