Frequent Transit in the Newark Area

NJ Transit may have its own wacky, confusing bus maps, but the average traveler is only concerned with about half of the routes on the map.  A bus isn’t useful if it only runs in one direction at rush hour, or once an hour.  What’s really important is frequent, reliable transit service that’s available whenever you want to go somewhere.

Here’s what the transit inf the Newark area looks like if we remove all of the peak-only and low-frequency routes from the map:

frequentnewark

A little in the way of explanation:  I removed all corridors that don’t have service at least every 12 minutes during the midday off-peak period (roughly 9am-3pm). Rush hour service is almost always more frequent. Those corridors with service every ten minutes or less have thicker lines.

Some corridors are made up of multiple routes, that together provide a high frequency service. The best example of this is Bloomfield Avenue, where the 11, 28, go28, 29, and 72 all operate every 30 minutes, but are synchronized so there is 10-minute service from Newark to Montclair.

In many cases, only parts of a bus route had frequent service.  Take, for example, the #1 line.  It runs from the western border of Newark to Jersey City, but only the central part of the route has service every 12 minutes.  To the west, some buses turn back early, leaving the rest of the route with less regular service.  The line has several branches to the east, all with diminished frequencies.

A few surprises:

•The Newark Light Rail makes it onto the map, but the Path doesn’t.  In the middle of the day, the Path at Newark Penn Station runs every 15 minutes, which is relatively infrequent for a rapid transit service.

•The #13, which is literally NJT’s busiest bus route, runs only every 12 minutes off-pe Continue reading

What NJ Transit looks like for riders with disabilities

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ADA-friendly stations are few and far between

Last week we got to take a peek at a map of the ADA-accessible stations on the NYC subway.  The results were not pretty. Entire lines had be to stricken from the map because they had less than 2 accessible stops.

ADA-accessible stations have level platforms, and require no stairs to access the train.  This usually means elevators for underground stations.

In New Jersey, we have made a decent amount of progress towards an accessibile rail system, but we’re nowhere near the finish line.

Here’s what the NJ Transit system looks like with only accessible stations:

njt_accessibility

Here’s the original map of the full system, for comparison.

Some observations: Continue reading

New Jersey Rail Map, 1979

This comes by way of Transit Maps, which is a really good Tumblr.tumblr_m8768qqgxO1r54c4oo1_1280

This map, with its distorted overhead perspective, shows Jersey City as disproportionately large, with the farthest points of the rail system fading into the distance. In 1979, the trains were still run by Conrail, but the PATH was already the PATH.

We can see how much the NJ Transit system has evolved since then.

For one thing, there are plenty of stations that are no longer around, like Great Notch, Roseville Avenue, Hackensack Fairmount Ave, Harmon Cove, North Rahway, Grant Avenue Plainfield, and South Paterson.

Entire lines have been abandoned since 1979.  The West Trenton Line, a branch of the Raritan Valley Line, was abandoned in 1981.  In 1984, the lower Port Jervis Line through Chester and Goshen was abandoned, and train were rerouted to another line to the north, where they run today.

The Montclair Connection in 2003 resulted in the abandonment of the lower Boonton Line between Hoboken and Montclair.

But in that time, there have also been huge improvements.  Missing from the map are huge steps forward like Midtown Direct, The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and new stations like Hamilton, Ramsey Route-17, and Secaucus Junction

But since 1979, the PATH hasn’t changed much at all.