December 29, 2010

NJ Transit restores normal service levels

As of Wednesday, New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) services resumed operating on a regular weekday schedule, with only minor adjustments expected.

Bus service is operating on a regular weekday schedule on all routes. A small percentage of routes are subject to truncations or detours as a result of local road conditions.

Rail service is operating on a regular weekday schedule on all lines. A handful of trains — representing about one percent of the weekday schedule — will be cancelled. Approximately eight trains will not operate on Wednesday due to weather-related equipment issues.  

Additionally, Access Link paratransit service is resuming normal operations.

While service is returning to normal, the agency is advising customers to plan for reduced parking availability, due to large snow mounds; and detours and delays on some bus routes.

NJ Transit crews, working around the clock since Sunday, have brought the system back to a relatively normal operating status. Since the first inch of snow fell, bus maintenance crews have worked to keep buses moving across the state. More than 100 of NJ Transit's 2,000 buses became stuck in snow during the storm, requiring the assistance of NJ Transit's fleet of tow trucks and response vehicles.

"It's been a Herculean effort," said Jim Gigantino, vice president/Gm of bus operations. "Our bus operators, maintenance crews and support personnel have worked in the most extreme conditions to restore service and get our customers safely to their destinations."

Bus service was suspended from 8:30 p.m. Sunday until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday due to weather conditions. At the request of the State Police, NJ Transit bus operators rendered assistance on the Garden State Parkway, transporting motorists whose cars became stranded to safe locations.

On the rail side, roughly 80 percent of NJ Transit's fleet of 1,400 railcars weathered the storm in outlying rail yards, where crews have spent the past 36 hours digging out the fleet. Approximately 140 cars needed to be physically dug out, and all cars required inspection and servicing before they could be returned to service. More than 40 railcars required repairs. Other rail crew members spent the hours during and after the storm clearing tracks, digging out switches and responding to other weather-related infrastructure issues.

Rail service operated on an enhanced weekend schedule on Monday and Tuesday, allowing crews additional time to prepare rail cars, locomotives and infrastructure. Under the enhanced weekend schedule, NJ Transit operated about 40 percent fewer trains than a typical weekday schedule.

Bus and rail personnel responsible for plowing snow and clearing boarding locations had their work cut out for them: not only because of the extreme snowfall levels, but due to wind that followed, requiring many locations to be re-plowed and re-treated multiple times.

NJ Transit's Light Rail Operations personnel, similar to their counterparts on the railroad, have been readying equipment, and clearing tracks and station platforms. Access Link reservations specialists worked extended hours individually calling paratransit customers whose trips needed to be rescheduled Monday and Tuesday as a result of suspended service.

 

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