Summer bus changes go into effect today

Summer bus schedule changes are fairly predictable.  Extra service to and from beach towns.  Supplementary service to various high schools is discontinued until fall.

Only a few major developments here.  The biggest is a restructuring of the 119 bus schedule, which goes through Bayonne, Journal Square, and Jersey City Heights to the Port Authority.

Formerly ending service around 10pm, this bus will now run overnight, providing a good way home to Jersey City and Bayonne late-shift workers, partygoers, etc.  There seems to have been some lobbying on the part of the Jersey City Mayor’s office for the reschedule.

The change also seems to be cost-neutral. Savings were achieved by tweaks to the parallel #10 schedule on Kennedy Boulevard, and by making midday service run less often.  Also, more running time has been added to the schedule so buses will be more reliable.

How else is the NJ bus network changing?  A few minor branches and route deviations are being removed, like an off-hours deviation of the 88 via Central Avenue in Jersey City, that only ran during midday hours, and very occasionally at best.

Also being eliminated are branch lines to industrial areas of Paterson and Totowa.  These areas will still be a few blocks from regular bus service and the routes will see no change in frequency.  Ridership on these segments was probably low (or nonexistent).

There are also minor boosts in frequency on the 166 and 197.

But who is to say that we won’t see major service cuts down the road?  NJ Transit is currently facing a $46 million budget gap for next year.  And add to that the fact (which recently came to light thanks to the Tri State Transportation Campaign) that over the past few years, NJ Transit has kept itself afloat by transferring $5 billion from its capital budget to pay for operating expenses.

Read the details of the new schedules, straight from the horse’s mouth:

No. 10 Daily: Select late night/overnight trips have been replaced with the No. 119 line and schedule adjustments to improve on-time performance.

No.  67 Daily:  Service will be operated to and from Seaside Park.  67X trip times will be adjusted in coordination with the added No. 319 service to and from Newark and Jersey City.

No. 79 Sundays:  At the request of our customers, service to Parsippany will now depart Penn Station at 8:34 AM and at 9:34 AM.

No. 83 Daily: Minor schedule adjustments in coordination with completion of construction of Little Ferry Circle.

No. 88 Weekdays & Saturdays:
  Central Avenue “C” service in both directions will no longer operate via Central Avenue. Use the No. 119 for alternate service.

No. 111 Weekdays:  An additional trip departing Jersey Gardens at 9:16 PM has been added to the schedule.

Attention No. 115 Customers:  Service to and from Union City has been discontinued. Customers traveling between Union City and Jersey Gardens should use the No. 111 line.  Please pick up a new schedule, or visit the website online for details, as trip times may have changed by a few minutes.

No. 119 Weekdays & Saturdays: New schedule including late night/overnight service and schedule adjustments to improve on-time performance.

No. 122 Weekdays: Adjusted schedule in the TO Secaucus direction.

No. 126 Weekdays:  Beginning May 22nd, select ‘Friday Only’ early getaway service will operate from the Port Authority Bus Terminal through the summer.

No. 127 Weekdays:
Adjusted first three “X” express trips in the AM to depart 5 minutes earlier.

No. 130 Friday:  Trip leaving New York at 2:15 PM to Lakewood will continue to operate through the summer to improve travel options.

No. 133 Weekdays:  Trip leaving the Rotary Senior Center at 7:05 AM will leave 5 minutes LATER at 7:10 AM.  Times between Rt. 516 at Morganville Road and New York will remain the same. No new timetable will be issued for this change.

No. 137 Daily:  Service will be added to and from Seaside Park. Weekend service will be extended to Island Beach State Park.

  • Saturday and Sunday:  Shuttle service to and from Seaside Park will be discontinued.
  • Weekdays:  AM parkway express trips from Toms River will be adjusted to serve passenger needs, please check timetable carefully as all trips may not operate Monday thru Friday.

No. 139 Friday:  Trip leaving New York at 3:00 PM to Union Hill Park&Ride Lot will continue to operate through the Summer to improve travel options.

No. 156 Weekdays: Adjustments made in the TO Englewood Cliffs direction during the PM rush hours.

Nos. 158, 163T, 164B&E, 165P, 166T&X, 177, 192 Local & Express,
193, 324 Fridays:
Extra summer-season Friday getaway service has been added.

No. 159 Weekdays: Adjustments made in the TO Fort Lee direction to the PM local and (X) express trips.

No. 163 Weekdays: Adjustments made to the Union City service in both directions.

No. 165 Weekdays: Minor schedule adjustments to reflect the completion of the Little Ferry Circle construction.

No. 166 Daily: Minor schedule adjustments, including one new midday weekday trip to New York. Saturday “T” Turnpike Express service has been increased to operate every 30 minutes.

No. 168 Weekdays: Minor schedule adjustments to reflect the completion of the Little Ferry Circle construction.

No. 167 & 177 Daily: Minor schedule adjustments and the No. 321 has replaced No. 167 midday service to Vince Lombardi Park & Ride.

No. 190 Weekdays: Adjustments made to the Union City service in both directions. The 4:35 PM “P” trip departing New York will now operate as an “E” trip.

No. 197 Daily: The 12:30 AM trip departing New York will now serve the Willowbrook Shoppers’ Stop and a 10:51 AM weekday trip departing Pompton Lakes has been added for the summer season.

No. 308 will operate daily service.  Please consult for times and days of operation.

No. 316: New service from University City in Philadelphia to Wildwood/Cape May plus the 316 will also stop at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden and the Gloucester Premium Outlets in Gloucester Township.  Service via Broad Street at Snyder Street in Philadelphia will be discontinued due to low ridership.  Special excursion round trip fares from Philadelphia to Wildwood/Cape May will be available again this summer.

No. 319: Service between New York, Toms River, and Atlantic City will be increased for the summerwith four trips operating daily south of Atlantic City via Ocean City, Ocean View, Sea Isle, Avalon, Stone Harbor, North Wildwood, Wildwood, Rio Grande, and Cape May.

No. 320 Weekdays: New early trip and schedule adjustments to New York between 5 AM and 6:30 AM. New trip and schedule adjustments between 2:15 PM and 3:10 PM in the TO Harmon Meadow direction.

No. 321 Weekdays: The 4 midday No. 167 trips in both directions will now operate as No. 321 trips. All trips departing New York to Vince Lombardi Park & Ride will now leave from Gate 318.

No. 400: Select trips will be adjusted to provide daily serve via the new bus stop on Premium Outlet Drive in front of the Gloucester Premium Outlets in Gloucester Township.

Nos. 403, 452: Direct service to Ferry Avenue PATCO will be discontinued due to changes to the road serving the station.   Customers will still be able to access the station via the bus stops on Haddon Avenue at Copewood Street.

No. 510: the service will be adjusted to operate via Route 9 to provide faster service between Wildwood and Cape May.

No. 601: Running time will be adjusted daily to improve on time performance.

No. 704 Weekdays: Service has been eliminated in the Bunker Hill section of Paterson (East 6th St. at 5th Avenue timepoint). See No. 722 line for alternative service.

No. 712 Weekdays: Service has been eliminated in the Totowa Industrial Area (at the Gordon Dr. at King Road timepoint) at 4:48 PM in the TO Hackensack direction and the 7:38 AM and 7:55 AM in the TO Willowbrook Mall direction.

No. 872 Weekdays: New timepoint has been added to the schedule for Wyndham Worldwide in the Mack Cali Business Campus.

Nos. 801, 802, and 805: Selected trips will be adjusted to improve connections with the Northeast Corridor.

Nos. 811, 818: The timepoint for the Brunswick Square Mall will be change to the new location at the Mall Entrance next to Starplex Cinema.

May rail changes bring better weekend service at North Elizabeth

This May, timetable changes on the NJ Transit rail system bring a pleasant surprise.  The big story, other than the opening of Wesmont Station, is the expansion of weekend train service at North Elizabeth on the Northeast Corridor Line.

North Elizabeth is one of the least-used stops on the NEC Line, with an average of 553 weekday passengers boarding at the stop in FY 2014.  Ridership is up, year-over-year. FY 2015 saw an average of 599 boardings at North Elizabeth, a nearly 10% increase. For comparison, during the same period total rail ridership increased by 2%.

Until recently, North Elizabeth saw only sporadic service on the weekends.  Most trains would speed past the station without stopping, and riders would have to make the hike over to Downtown Elizabeth to catch the train.  North Elizabeth will now have train service every 1-2 hours throughout the day on weekends.

What’s to account for the sudden boost in service?  It might be a recent transit-oriented development project called Station Commons, a 100-unit apartment building that just opened immediately adjacent to the station.

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With a giant brownfield development site right across the street, development in the station area can only go up from here.

Hopefully, this is a microcosm of what is happening across New Jersey.  New developments are going in at formerly depressed neighborhoods near train stations: Harrison, Bloomfield, Orange, and the list goes on.

Other schedule changes are minor.  On the Main/Bergen Lines, some trains that terminated at Waldwick will now run only to Ridgewood, and other Ridgewood trains are being extended to Waldwick. Summer Coast Line expresses to the beach are back for the season, as well as more frequent Bay Head shuttles. And a few evening trains are adding new stops on the inner Morris and Essex Lines, offering more frequent service for local suburb-to-suburb riders on that line.

Wesmont station opens, but what will happen to Garfield?

This May, train schedules on the NJ Transit rail system are changing on May 15th.  Service changes on all of the lines will be discussed in a later post, but this one will discuss the biggest piece of news, the opening of the new Wesmont station on the Bergen County Line (BCL). The new station is in Wood-Ridge, located between Garfield station and Rutherford station. It is being developed to serve an enormous infill development site on what used to be a large industrial complex.  This is a classic transit-oriented development project.

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The opening of the new station has been a long time in the making, having been initially scheduled for completion in 2011.  The station itself was completed a few months ago, but the agency delayed opening the facility until the 215-space parking lot could be completed. For a station meant to serve residents of a local apartment complex, many of whom would probably walk, delaying train service on account of parking needs alone is a questionable decision.

Most, but not all BCL trains will stop at Wesmont.  There has been speculation that Wesmont would eventually come to serve as a replacement for Garfield station, which though located in a dense urban area, has short platforms and lacks parking.  Garfield station is not served by all trains on the BCL, and it is arguable that its low ridership is caused by low service levels, not the other way around. Garfield has the lowest ridership out of all stations on the Main and Bergen County Lines, with 169 boardings per day as of Q3 2014.

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Garfield Station, via Google Maps

When service at a low-ridership station is reduced, ridership begins to further decline in a vicious circle.  This is exactly what happened at Great Notch station on the Montclair-Boonton Line.  After the enormous Montclair State University station, and its parking garage, opened in 2004, NJT began cutting back service at Great Notch.  At the end, Great Notch was down to 2 trains and 9 passengers per day. The station permanently closed in 2010.

Personally, I do not foresee any substitution effects between Garfield and Wesmont.  No significant number of Garfield riders is likely to switch to Wesmont, as I see it.  Let me explain:

  • Garfield has no parking, so train riders who need a place to park are already going to other stations.  More of them might use Wesmont, but that doesn’t mean they will stop using Garfield.
  • Garfield and Wesmont stations are far apart enough that practically no one lives in walking distance of both of them. No one that walks to Garfield now will be enticed to walk to Wesmont.
  • Anyone using a bus to reach the train won’t go to Wesmont station, as there is no bus service that passes by there.

What may happen is that there will be a substitution effect between Wesmont and Wood-Ridge station on the Pascack Valley Line. Those two stations are just over a mile apart, and neighborhood residents have to cross Route 17 to reach Wood-Ridge station.

To close, here’s a picture of the TOD project, Avalon at Wesmont Station




April Bus Changes in Hudson, Passaic Counties

First of all, apologies for taking an extending hiatus from writing things here.

Now- to the important stuff.  Every January, April,  July and September,  NJ Transit adjusts its bus schedules.  This April was another opportunity for the agency to reduce service on unproductive routes with declining ridership, and beef up service where there is overcrowding.

This time around, most of the schedule changes focuses on Passaic and Hudson County.  Below is NJT’s official announcement about the changes.  Note rush-hour service reductions on routes like the 190 from Paterson, the 84 in Jersey City/Union City,  and 125 from Journal Square that compete with jitney buses. It looks like NJT is making a strategic reduction in those markets, allowing passengers to ride with their for-profit competitors.

Some changes didn’t make it into the main announcement.  On the 175 from Ridgewood to the George Washington Bridge, Sunday service is being cut from an hourly headway to a bus every 70 minutes.  Likewise, weekend service is being degraded on the 188 from West New York to GWB. NJ is also adding express service on commuter lines to Passaic County, including 1 additional trip on the 193, which also didn’t make the list.


Bus Route No. 64 – Weekdays:  Trip times will be adjusted in the PM Peak after 6:00 PM for better distribution of seats and to alleviate overcrowding.

Bus Route No. 68 – Weekdays:  PM trip times in the early part of the PM peak will be adjusted for better distribution of seats and to minimize waiting time between trips.  All PM trips will terminate at Route 9 Service Road at Throckmorton Lane. Old Bridge passengers will no longer need to request service to this point.


Bus Route No. 73 – Weekdays:  The 6:45 PM trip departing Penn Station will now operate via Florham Park to better serve our customers.


Bus Route No. 80 – Weekends:  To reflect a more accurate travel time, minor adjustments to trips have been made throughout the day, for most weekend service.


Bus Route No. 82 – Weekdays: Trips in the morning to Union City and the trip in the afternoon to Jersey City have been eliminated.


Bus Route No. 84 Weekdays: Adjustment and reduction of select weekday trips due to low ridership.


Bus Route No. 112 – Daily:  In order to enhance the customer experience and improve connectivity, minor adjustments to trip times have been made throughout the day, for all services.  Please pick up a new timetable or review schedules online for more information.


Bus Route No. 123 – Weekdays & Saturdays: Weekdays to Jersey City: Added 1 trip between 3 PM – 5 PM and 3 trips between 6:50 PM – 10:40 PM.


Saturdays: Increased frequency in the AM to operate every 20 minutes and added one late-night trip departing New York.


Bus Route No. 125 – Weekdays: Adjustment and reduction of AM weekday service in both directions between 6 AM – 9 AM.


Bus Route No 126 – Weekdays:  By customer request, a new 5:35 AM Clinton Street trip to the Port Authority Bus Terminal has been added, as well as, additional service beginning at Washington Street and 11th Street.


Bus Route No. 128 Weekdays: New weekday late-night schedule departing New York including conversion of one No. 128 trip to a No. 166 trip.


Bus Route No. 136 – Weekdays: For the ease and in response to customer requests service between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM will operate every 12 minutes. Jackson passengers should note that their trip will leave 2 minutes EARLIER at 5:48 PM Service between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM will not change.


Bus Route No. 139 – Weekdays: The current 2:14 PM departure from Howell Garage will now originate at 1:50 PM from Lakewood giving passengers additional travel options.


Passengers using Old Bridge Park-Ride Express Service (serving both lots) Gate 324 in the PM Peak will now have earlier service starting at 3:51 PM.


Gate 325 passengers in the PM peak will have time adjustments and earlier service bypassing Old Bridge Park-Ride Lot.


Bus Route No. 144 Weekdays: Adjustment and reduction of one PM weekday trip departing New York.


Bus Route No.160 – Weekdays: Adjustment of weekday service in the TO Elmwood Park direction between 3 PM – 7 PM.


Bus Route No. 161 – Weekdays: Adjusted schedule and reduction of one AM trip TO New York.


Bus Route No. 162 – Weekdays: Weekday trips in the TO NY direction departing at 7:50 PM & 8:20 PM will now depart 10 minutes later at 8:00 PM & 8:30 PM.


Bus Route No.165 – Weekdays: Adjustment of weekday, PM express trips in the TO Westwood direction including one additional “R” Route 4 express trip.


Bus Route No. 166 – Weekdays: New weekday late-night schedule departing New York including conversion of one 128 trip to a 166 trip.


Bus Route No. 167 & 177 – Daily: Adjusted weekday schedule in the TO New York direction between 10 AM -11 AM.  The No. 177 “Friday Only” trip departing at 3:25 PM FROM New York will now depart every weekday.


Bus Route No. 168 – Weekdays: New weekday late-night schedule departing New York.


Bus Route Nos. 171, 175, 178, 181, 182, 186 & 188 – Daily: Schedule adjustments to improve on-time performance.


Bus Route No. 191 – Weekdays: Addition of new 4:30 PM weekday trip departing New York.


Bus Route No. 192/199 – Weekdays: Adjustment of select evening weekday rush hour trips departing New York.


Bus Route No. 194 Weekdays: Adjustment of A.M. weekday “X” Route 23 express service to New York. The 10:32 AM weekday trip departing Mothers Park & Ride to New York will now depart at 10:37 AM.


Bus Route No. 195 – Weekdays: The 4:20 PM trip will no longer serve Allwood.


Bus Route No. 308 – Weekends: Service operating Saturdays and Sundays.


Bus Route No. 320 – Weekdays: New early trip and schedule adjustments weekdays to New York between 5 AM – 6 AM.


Bus Route No. 409: On weekdays more trips will be adjusted to operate via the Country Club Plaza branch through Willingboro.


Bus Route No. 508: The weekday, Saturday and Sunday schedules will be adjusted to improve on time performance. Service via Absecon Manor will be reduced due to low ridership.


Bus Route No. 600: The 5:37 AM weekday trip from Forrestal Village will be adjusted to depart at 5:34 AM to improve connections at Princeton Junctions with the Northeast Corridor.


Bus Route No. 770 – Saturdays & Sundays: Schedule adjustments to improve on-time performance.


LA Metro proposes eliminating 5 bus lines

Every few years, LA Metro proposes service changes for their bus network.  This time around, it’s mostly cuts.  Metro is proposing 5 routes for total elimination, two without replacements.

What are these routes?  Where do they go?  Why are they being proposed for elimination?

Line 177

This is a minor route with one-way, peak-only service from from Pasadena City College and Cal Tech to the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in La Cañada-Flintridge.  There are seven runs in the morning to JPL, and seven runs in the afternoon from JPL.

This is a low ridership route, with an average of about 170 passengers a day, or 12 boardings per trip. This has declined from an average of 260 riders a day in 2010.

While the service links JPL and Cal Tech, the route is not useful to employees at either of the two research institutions because Cal Tech and JPL run their own shuttle van for employees traveling between the two on official business.

JPL will still have bus service on the more frequent line 268.

Line 220

Line 220 runs on Robertson Boulevard, connecting the Expo Line Station in Culver City with Beverly Hills.  This is a single-bus route, operating on an hourly headway from 6am-7pm, weekdays only.  Saturday service was eliminated in 2011.

Ridership is low, but has been slowly increasing since the connecting Expo Line light rail service opened in 2012.  Average daily ridership stood at 280 in 2010, but in 2015, that number rose to 320, an increase of 14%. This works out to 11.4 boardings per run, or roughly 23 boardings per hour.

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