Train, bus riders face more changes on NJ Transit, PATH + PATCO
Continued sharp drops in ridership as commuters work from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic means more changes for New Jersey's public transportation systems.
NJ Transit, which Gov. Phil Murphy previously said had a 90% drop in ridership during the public health emergency has made adjustments to its bus lines, which until now had been operating regular schedules.
Buses in the agengy's northern and southern service areas will operate on modified levels of service starting Monday, March 30, according to NJ Transit.
The same announcement said until further notice, bus service will no longer operate out of Vince Lombardi Park & Ride and that customers can instead use the nearby North Bergen Park & Ride facility.
Adjustments also were made over the weekend on NJ Transit's southern New Jersey bus runs.
Passengers must board buses from the rear entrance to lessen contact with drivers.
Seats near each bus driver also have been taken out of service, to allow for proper social distancing for the operator.
Rail service continues to operate on a President's Day holiday schedule with some adjustments. NJ Transit said it is still running the same number of passenger cars to encourage social distancing among rail riders.
NJ Transit president & CEO Kevin Corbett said in a statement he is proud of the 12,000 NJ Transit employees still on the job, especially those who are on the "front lines," as essential workers continue to depend on them for service.
According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, PATH also has adjusted its schedule to run every 10 minutes systemwide weekdays, with additional trains every five minutes during the morning commute. Late evenings between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30, trains will run every 15 minutes and every 35 minutes 11:30 p.m. through 6 a.m.
The line has had a 90% drop in service this week when compared to a year ago, Port Authority CEO Rick Cotton said during a virtual board meeting on Thursday.
The high speed PATCO line, which runs from Camden County to Philadelphia, temporarily has closed the following stations during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Ashland (riders instead are encouraged to use Lindenwold or Woodcrest Stations)
- Westmont (riders instead are encouraged the Haddonfield or Collingswood Stations)
- City Hall (riders instead are encouraged to use the Broadway Station)
- 12/13th & Locust St. (riders instead are encouraged to use the 9/10th or 15/16th)
Weekday PATCO service will continue to operate every 20 minutes between 5 a.m and 11:59 p.m., as well as once an hour during overnights.
PATCO President John Hanson told the Cherry Hill Courier Post ridership has fallen 55-65% daily.
According to the same report, the Delaware River Port Authority, which operates PATCO and the Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross and Commodore Barry bridges has taken a $2.2 million revenue loss for the month, and Hanson said layoffs could be a consideration depending on how long emergency orders remain in-place keeping non-essential businesses and retailers closed.
SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards said she and members of her executive team have taken an immediate 10% pay reduction as the agency heads towards a $150 million loss for the year.