NJ Transit strike may spell disaster for commuters, here’s what Hoboken plans

HOBOKEN – The potential for an NJ Transit strike starting Sunday, March 13 has local officials working to address the possible traffic gridlock they expect to cause traffic back-ups of up to 25 miles on major roadways at all Hudson River crossings.

Talks regarding the issue – which includes how much rail workers should pay for health insurance premiums moving forward – may reach a compromise before Sunday. Even so, in the event of such a stoppage, NJ Transit has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate up to about 38 percent, or about 40,000 seats, of the existing New York-bound customer base.

“[The city] has been coordinating with NJ Transit and other agencies in preparation for a possible strike by NJ Transit rail workers beginning on Sunday…a strike would result in the complete suspension of all NJ Transit rail service which is expected to result in significant disruptions throughout the region’s transportation system,” Hoboken City Spokesman Juan Melli said in an announcement.

This contingency plan includes adding capacity to existing New York commuter bus routes in close proximity to rail stations, contracting with private carriers to operate bus service from key regional park-ride locations during weekday peak periods, increasing capacity on its three light rail systems, and maximizing use of the available capacity on PATH and ferry service.
Under the contingency plan:
The NJ Transit No. 126 bus, which normally leaves from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the Hoboken Terminal, will not be traveling to the city. Instead, the No. 126 bus route in Hoboken will operate on a reverse routing system on weekday mornings, beginning at Willow Avenue and 19th Street and running south to Hoboken Terminal, for cross-honoring with PATH and nearby ferry service. During evening commutes, the bus route will go from Hoboken Terminal back to Willow and 19th. Weekend service will operate on its regular route, to and from New York.

“To avoid major commuting delays due to traffic congestion and delays at the Lincoln Tunnel, NJ Transit 126 bus customers are urged to commute to Manhattan via ferry or PATH service,” the announcement from the city reads.

Due to expected crowds on the PATH the city recommends that employers allow staff to work remotely wherever possible.

The city says “thousands of ferries” will offer their services this weekend – taking off near the Hoboken PATH station to Pier 11, Wall Street and the World Financial Center.

“NY Waterway will cross-honor tickets for NJ Transit 126 bus route passengers at all ferry terminals. Service to Midtown/West 39th Street and to World Financial Center is available from the 14th Street Ferry Terminal. Hoboken residents can access ferry service from Lincoln Harbor and Port Imperial via the Hudson Bergen Light Rail.

Melli added that commuters are discouraged from driving to Hoboken as parking is “extremely limited.”

If there is an NJ Transit strike this weekend send your traffic photos to srodas@hudsonreporter.com. – Steven Rodas

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