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NJ Transit: We're Doing What We Can with the Port Authority Bus Terminal

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 04:13 PM

The Port Authority Bus Terminal (Eric Allix Rogers/flickr)

By New Jersey Transit's own standards, things at the Port Authority Bus Terminal are not good: only 85 percent of buses left the terminal on time in the month of May.

New Jersey Transit officials heard complaints from the public about the antiquated, maxed-out facility located in the heart of Times Square at their June meeting Wednesday.

One woman, who said she's commuted between Hasbrouck Heights and the Port Authority Bus Terminal for 37 years, said it was routine to wait for over 35 minutes for a bus. She added, "To have so many individuals crammed into such a small space on the Port Authority gate is really very unsafe, should there be an incident in that building."

She called the terminal "a commuting disaster."

Matthew Walters, who operates the Delayed on NJ Transit twitter account — which retweets complaints from commuters — told board members, "You may not be aware, but there is a daily flood of complaints from New Jersey Transit bus commuters at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, between 5 and 7, basically every evening."

Random sample:

Ronnie Hakim, the executive director of NJ Transit, says the agency is well aware of the bus terminal's shortcomings, and it's working with the Port Authority and the New York City Department of Transportation to improve the flow of bus traffic. It's also conducting a "field review" to record bus arrival times and identify pinch points.

NJ Transit has already made some changes, she said. "We're moving where we're putting our buses. Adjusting some of the schedules. Looking at where our bus gates are assigned." Also each bus departure gate will also have gate agents, she said, who can provide information to passengers based on real-time contact with dispatchers.

"It's just a beginning," Hakim said. 

The ball, however, is in the Port Authority's court. The Authority says it hopes to build a bus annex, which would help alleviate some of the congestion. Until then, it's urging passengers to leave feedback on their website

Passengers have another opportunity to vent frustrations Wednesday night: local New Jersey legislators are meeting with the public in Teaneck to talk about conditions at the bus terminal. Representatives from both the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit will be there.

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Comments [5]

xtina

Too bad Christie axed the ARC Tunnel. I wonder if that could possibly have helped?

Jul. 10 2014 09:02 AM
JOSEPH P. WALL from Pelham Bay, Bronx

All New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority have to do is hire more bus supervisors who would have the power to do certain things. For example, a bus operator MUST stay with his /her bus until the appointed time the schedule says that they must be at the departure gate picking up passengers. The few bus supervisors that are there are hiding out somewhere looking for some wrongdoing by bus operators instead of standing orsitting where the riding public can see them. The same nonsense occours at Penn Station too during rush hours.

Jun. 12 2014 03:42 PM
Erik from NYC

How about less buses and more trains. Rail is more efficient and greener.

Jun. 12 2014 10:53 AM
Eric F

What is needed is an expanded terminal, capacity for onsite or nearby storage and a new, dedicated tunnel that bypasses Rte 495 and the helix/existing tunnel. We don't build vehicle tunnels anymore, but having a direct bus tunnel from the 3/Tpk interchange to Manhattan would make that trip a reliable 10 minutes. Private carriers might also find it worthwhile to pay rent to sue the terminal to take advantage of a super fast, utterly reliable bypass route.

Jun. 12 2014 09:17 AM

I hate to sound overly cynical, but if these "representatives" ever used the systems they "maintain" they would then have a clue, and it might be so chocking to their system, they might expire.

It is routine to see busses sitting there empty while people are lined up, as the article notes. This happens at many NJT bus stops in the DEAD OF WINTER. It is reprehensible, but they just do not seem to care.

It shouldn't take all this effort to do what is common sense, but then again we have a NJT who is too busy being climate change deniers and a PA that is more interested in hurting people's lives than helping.

The lack of attention to regional planning and accountability over billions of our tax dollars is offensive and I have no idea how any elected or appointed official can claim to be doing a good job, or for that matter sleep at night.

Jun. 12 2014 09:00 AM

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