The best advice NJ Transit can offer commuters is to leave earlier rather than later to get home. Try as they might to stay ahead of this storm, yet another wallop of heavy, wet powder threatened to down trees and clog rail lines.
“We have cross-honoring in place to accommodate the customers, so those holding the bus passes can hop on Light Rail service,” said NJ Transit spokesperson Nancy Snyder.
All of those options will come in handy. All NJ Transit bus service was suspended statewide as of 3 p.m. Wednesday, which includes to and from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Meanwhile, train delays and cancellations were moderate by midday.
“This is our third chance. The airline canceled, the train canceled, now it’s our third try,” said Michael Saverien, a resident of California.
“I actually had two trains that were canceled. Hopefully this one will stay the course and won’t be canceled and I’ll get down there on time,” said Ken Morris of Paterson.
Resiliency is the name of this game. Some travelers are trying to make their way to D.C. for important hearings on the Hill, hoping Newark Penn will be their way out.
“We’ll be testifying before Congress today,” said Morris. “No, snow definitely can’t stop that.”
“Before any storm, we do a few things. We have the preventive maintenance that we do even before the first snowflake hits the ground. And what we do is we cut back on the trees on our railroad rights out of the way that look a little dangerous to our catenary system,” Snyder explained. “We inspect our equipment, we inspect our switch heaters, we inspect our switches, we inspect our overhead wires.”
The most recent storm brought down 100 trees for NJ Transit crews to battle. As of late afternoon, utility crews — beefed up with support from outside state lines — had a handle on outages with less than .01 percent of New Jersey customers were in the dark. Line crews from as far as Canada will be at the ready for JCP&L, the power company had hundreds and thousands cut off in the last storm.
Over at Newark Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey confirmed almost 1,000 flights canceled as of late afternoon. All three of the agency’s airports are operating on limited service as the storm worsens. All flights in and out of Newark are subject to 15 minute delays.
“This is what, the fourth nor’easter? Third one, I got home OK. I’ll do it again today, I plan accordingly,” said commuter Chris Reynolds.
And planning accordingly is exactly what transit officials want commuters to do. The Emergency Operations Center will be up and running throughout the night to closely monitor the storm. NJ Transit recommends customers regularly check the social media feed for updates because as this storm progresses, you can expect more delays and cancellations.