As NJ Transit begins to restore train service for commuters following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, local officials say that they are trying to get updates from the transportation company.
Following the storm, the nation's largest statewide public transportation system said that it faced a massive repair and restoration effort. Most lines were down for the week following Hurricane Sandy and are now just getting back up and running.
However, since some lines returned to service, commuters have been hit with long delays and are looking to their local officials to give them answers.
"NJ Transit did not coordinate their transportation plans with Maplewood," said Maplewood Mayor Vic Deluca. "Late last week, the police lieutenant on evening duty got a call from NJ Transit police stating they were going to start bus service to the ferries at Liberty State Park. During the November 8 call with the governor, the Transportation Commissioner stated it was likely that the Morris and Essex line would operate on Monday the 12."
DeLuca would go on to state that he heard that NJ Transit released a modified schedule from the Maplewood Train Station, however, the company did not make official notification with the town.
Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) said that he understands that new challenges are being brought to the train company every day in their efforts to fix the lines.
“Everything continues to be a moving target,” said McKeon. “Everything changes daily based on the interconnections between what they are able to run on the rail lines out of South Orange where a lot of our commuters are. The latest update is that they’ve been supplementing that with buses.”
Recently, McKeon and his Assembly counterpart, Mila Jasey, appealed to NJ Transit to help provide more options for commuters from South Orange, Livingston, Maplewood and West Orange.
For residents who are commuting though, the constant change in scheduling, as well as the continued effects from the Hurricane, can be a bit daunting.
One South Orange commuter said that while on the 7:42 p.m. from NY Penn, the train was running normally until it approached South Orange. "Train was skidding on track and was unable to stop at South Orange. Crazy," texted the commuter. The train had to stop in Maplewood.
However, when there are no issues, riders have shown that they are pleased to be back to a degree of normalcy on the train.
"My husband took the 7:07 and arrived in South Orange at 7:50. Totally smooth. Hoping tomorrow am is the same way. Pretty incredible," posted a reader on Maplewood Patch's Facebook page Another wrote, "Yay for some degree of normalcy."
Patch attempted to contact NJ Transit representatives by phone and e-mail, but received no response.