07 November 2021

Improve NJ Transit, Practically for Free

I sent a letter to NJ Governor Phil Murphy. Go here if you want to send one too.

Dear Governor Murphy,

Congratulations on winning re-election. I only wish it hadn’t been so close. 

I’m writing about New Jersey Transit. 

I know you are committed to infrastructure improvements that reduce CO2 emissions and environmental degradation, and making public transit better, faster, and more accessible is one way to do that.

There are all kinds of ways that the New Jersey train system could be improved, many of them costing a lot of money. But one of the things I keep noticing is connection times.

I took a trip from Elberon to Philadelphia this weekend. (My son is a first-year college student, and I went for parents’ weekend. It was so great to see him, and his haunts.)

If I took the train to Rahway and then switched to the southbound train, the northbound train misses the southbound train by eight minutes, so there would be a 52 minute wait or the next train. 

Photo: trains.com

It gets worse. 

The NJ Transit train arriving in Trenton arrives at the exact same time that the SEPTA train leaves for Philadelphia. So you wait in Trenton for an hour before getting on SEPTA for the 47-minute trip to Philadelphia. 

The entire trip: four hours and 41 minutes.

This includes nearly two hours of time waiting around in Rahway and Trenton.

Oh, and the NJ Transit app can’t even give you the information. If you enter Elberon as a starting point and 30th Street Station, Philadelphia as the end point, the app gives you a “Rail Schedule Error”: you can’t transfer via the Atlantic City rail line.

I’m writing to make a simple request: get the folks who plan the NJ transit schedules to take a closer look at the whole system, including transfers to SEPTA, and make it so that trains don’t just miss each other.


Heide Estes

Elberon, NJ

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