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NJ TRANSIT CUSTOMERS GET INSTANT ACCESS TO SENIOR RAILROAD OFFICIAL IN FIRST-EVER WEB CHAT

Lunchtime online event to address questions about Amtrak’s tie-replacement project and upcoming Northeast Corridor schedule change

May 6, 2008
Contact: Dan Stessel (973) 491-7078

NEWARK, NJNJ TRANSIT customers who have questions about upcoming schedule changes on the Northeast Corridor will have the opportunity to get answers directly from a senior railroad official as the corporation hosts its first-ever live online chat.

Scheduled for 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday May 7, the online chat will focus on service impacts associated with a long-term Amtrak project to replace prematurely worn concrete ties on the Northeast Corridor. NJ TRANSIT Vice President and General Manager William B. Duggan will host the online discussion and respond to questions from customers participating in the live event.

“We have made a commitment to keep our customers informed about the Amtrak tie-replacement project and how it will affect their trips, and this new communication platform will provide customers with instant access to NJ TRANSIT’s senior management team,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. “We have scheduled this event at lunchtime to maximize participation.”

The online chat supplements an array of more conventional communication channels—including fliers, posters, website postings and electronic updates sent to My Transit email alert subscribers—that the corporation has used to publicize the impact of the Amtrak project, which starts May 11.

The tie-replacement project, which is expected to continue through the end of this year and into 2009, will have an impact on Northeast Corridor service because it requires closure of one of the four tracks between Jersey Avenue and Trenton stations.

While efforts have been made to minimize service impact to customers traveling in the peak direction during peak hours, adjustments have been built into new timetables that account for the loss of 25 percent of the capacity on what is one of the busiest passenger railroads in the world. New timetables will take effect May 11 on all NJ TRANSIT rail lines.

“This project will have the same impact as a lane out of service on a congested four-lane highway, so we are employing innovative ways to get the message out to our customers and listen to their concerns,” said NJ TRANSIT Customer Advocate Sandra Check.

To participate in the web chat, customers should log on to njtransit.com shortly before 12:30 p.m. tomorrow and click on the “chat live” button on the homepage.

Among the impacts:

  • Starting May 11, Track 4—closest to the outbound station platforms—will be closed between Jersey Avenue and Trenton.
  • Customers will use platform bridges to board and alight from outbound trains at Princeton Junction and Hamilton stations. The platform bridges will serve the end doors of train cars. Middle doors will remain closed at those stations, lengthening boarding and de-boarding procedures.
  • Trip times will be longer, and any unplanned operational problems that arise will be more difficult to work around.
  • Customers traveling in the reverse-peak direction (toward Trenton in the morning and toward Newark/New York in the afternoon) will have fewer trains.
  • Customers traveling between intermediate stations on the NEC will have fewer trains at certain times of the day.
  • Connections to SEPTA or Princeton Shuttle (Dinky) service will be affected.
  • Departure times for most NEC trains have been adjusted in the new timetable.

Customers are encouraged to check new timetables to understand how the project will affect their commute. Project updates will be provided on the NJ TRANSIT website (njtransit.com) and will be delivered automatically to customers who have signed up to receive service advisories through “My Transit,” a free NJ TRANSIT service that provides up-to-the-minute travel advisories tailored to each customer’s daily commute.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.