New Jersey Transit’s Gawd-Awful Bus Maps

It is transit maps like this that make a person with the future of New Jersey at heart despair.

Here’s a snippet of New Jersey Transit’s map for Hudson County, New Jersey.  This shows downtown Jersey City.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 10.06.28 PM

See the rest of this baffling map here. There are so many flaws with this map, including:

  • The rapid transit and light rail systems are shown in thin lines and in the background.  They are markedly de-emphasized, yet they provide some of the most frequent and useful transit service in the city.
  • Private operators are not shown.  New Jersey Transit only operates about 50% of the bus service in Jersey City.  Other providers include the amazingly frequent jitneys, New York Waterway ferry buses,  and traditional private operators such as A&C Bus Corp.
  • Difficult to read bus route numbers and track them across the map.  The font is small, routes have similar names (81, 82, 83, etc), and lines are only three colors.  These indicate local routes, routes to New York, and routes to Newark.
  • Not all streets are shown.  Not even a basic grid, only the streets buses operate on.
  • Everything is distorted into a 45-degree orthogonal system, making it hard to read.  The street system in most of Jersey City isn’t even a grid.

Seriously, who allowed this to be published?  Similarly confusing maps were prepared for the rest of the counties in Northern New Jersey. It might be less confusing to potential passenger to have no maps at all, or rely on third-party app developers and the like.

In contrast, here’s a sample of New York City’s bus maps.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 10.32.18 PM

Clear, simple, and shows all streets.  Different bus lines are distinguished but so much that they cause visual clutter.  Good job, MTA.

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2 thoughts on “New Jersey Transit’s Gawd-Awful Bus Maps

  1. I’d prefer a crappy map to what we have in Central Jersey- which is Jack Squat. Seriously, how can an agency go to the trouble of running a bunch of expensive buses but not make a simple route map available?

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  2. I agree! I know the people has gone through a great [?] deal of trying to put out, and publish maps for especially the illiterate folk; I draw maps as a hobby, and [not] sorry to burst society’s quick-fix lord /saviour “Reality” I am a computer illiterate-I still draw the old school way: brains! In the early-mid 1990’s I tried to get a job drawing maps from a professional drafting company that STILL is in business (fortunately I had the chance to speak with the gentleman, but he told me ALL drafting tools were being put away in favor of the PC, and continued giving me the runaround in trying to set up an interview; Although I’m in the mist of packing-n-moving, you should see my (shall we say) “free-handed schematic drawn” map collection from over the years; I don’t mind change, but the current changes are NOT favorable, and I’m lost UNLESS God can make possible for me to use the gifts-n-talents without selling out ( and this goes for all others too!).

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