Murphy called NJ Transit a national disgrace … many riders agree
During his first run for governor, Phil Murphy called NJ Transit "a national disgrace" and promised to fix it. One of his first appointments was to tap Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti as state transportation commissioner.
She came from running the transportation system in the state of Florida. Well if you ask riders of the River Line, which runs from Camden to Trenton, they will tell you things have gotten worse.
Here's what one rider told us about the lack of trains and their condition.
"NJ Transit River line has 20 Light Rail Vehicles in its fleet. Currently, 16 of those trains are out of service due to mechanical breakdowns. NJ Transit River line has been operating on a Sunday Schedule daily for the last several weeks. The trains that are running are overpacked, dirty and don’t have effective air conditioning. The trains are often late or canceled without notice. The platforms are dirty, and some signboards are broken. Many ticket machines don’t work."
According to the rider, they are currently operating 4 single-car trains, 2 in each direction. Many commuters and customers complain daily about conditions and overcrowding and cancelled trains.
They also say that NJ Transit Police add to the delays by holding up trains and checking tickets when the train pulls into a stop.
A local Philly TV station did a story earlier this summer on the lack of air conditioning on the trains.
Ridership has always been low and even former Gov. Chris Christie called the River Line a "joke" because hardly anybody uses it.
It was launched in 2004 at a cost of $1.1 billion to build. The hope was that it would spur economic development along the route, which has never come to fruition. But the people who do use it as a means of transportation for work or personal use deserve better.
Many of us have used NJ Transit in one form or another from time to time, for trips to NYC or even in South Jersey to get to Atlantic City.
The people who we see on the trains who work for the system are dedicated, hardworking people. They don't make $280,000 a year like NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett, who makes more than state transportation commissioner Gutirrez-Scaccetti at $141,000 as of a few years ago.
The latest figures have the highest-paid exec at the agency at $507K, with the average executive at NJ Transit at $207,691 annually. The average employees there deserve better conditions and for sure so do the riders.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
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