NJ Transit riders still dissatisfied with rail service


Toward the end of last year, New Jersey Transit released its first quarterly customer assessment report, and the results were not good. Overall, the agency drew in a 5.3 on the customer satisfaction scale with rail scoring even lower. Now, the next quarter results are available, and the pictures looks even bleaker.

As the survey shows, customer satisfaction with New Jersey Transit is now down to 5.1. Only 55 percent of rail travelers say they would recommend the service to a friend, and perception of on-time performance is lagging as well. NJ Transit, however, noted that its own on-time rail performance was at a very respectable 94.9 percent. Other complaints focused around dissatisfaction with communication during service disruptions — a challenge transit agencies everywhere must face — and issues surrounding frequency of weekend service.

So what’s going on here? One article on the survey speculates that riders remember only the bad trips and the myriad problem-free rides. The long delays stick out and cause headaches, and New Jersey Transit should get credit for improving its on-time record and upgrading its rolling stock. Furthermore, the agency won’t be raising fares this year. Still, without added cross-Hudson capacity, the commuter rail network will never be able to achieve its potential, and its customers seem to recognize as much.

8 Responses to “NJ Transit riders still dissatisfied with rail service”

  1. Matt says:

    I ride NJ Transit every day for work, and while, yes…the bad does standout more than the good, I am dissatisfied.

    Along with the major disruptions, which this summer seemed to have more than usual, small minor ones also add up. The thing that really annoys me, is when it leaves on time, but then stalls either in the tube or right before it. I’ve missed many a train by 1 or 2 minutes because of this.

    Also, it seems like the trains have been dirtier lately (not just garbage, but cigarette butts), which is weird, because they are usually pretty clean.

    • SEAN says:


      Where do you board the train? Just wondering since sertin lines are more reliable than others. Train bunching is unavoidable since the tunnels are only single tracks.

      • Matt says:

        I understand about the bunching, but when the train is supposed to be there at like one time, and it’s like 2 mins late and I miss the connection, it’s just frustrating.

        As for my commute…I get on in Pearl River, go to Secaucus and transfer to a train to New York Penn.

        • SEAN says:

          The key is Secaucus because almost any train to & from NYP stops there. You might need to catch a train 2 or 3 minutes earlier to ensure your connection going home. However comeing in, once in Secaucus just hop on the next train that comes. OK Matt?

          • Matt says:

            what, do you work for NJ Transit? I realize I can catch the next train, but for my specific line, it doesn’t come for another half hour. Soooo, if the schedule says it will be at Secaucus 3 minutes before the train I’m trying to catch, I expect it to be there at that time. A 2 minutes delay will then cause me to miss that train and then have to sit in Secaucus for a half hour.

            And yes, coming in in never a prob, cause during the morning commute they do run frequently.

  2. The Cobalt Devil says:

    Remember that dissatisfaction when it comes time to elect a governor.

  3. Josh says:

    Not too shocking given that service is, at best, the same as it’s ever been, and fares are significantly higher (and no ORT or 10-trip discounts anymore). I want to move back to NJ just so I can vote against Chris Christie.

  4. lawhawk says:

    Even though the 4Q 2011 was pretty quiet in terms of weather outages, there were a couple of notable events that occurred in the period when the surveys were being conducted.

    The freak October snowstorm had just occurred and weather outages were still being felt in residual problems. Service along the Main/Bergen line was still being affected by Hurricane Irene damage (Port Jervis line was restored in November).

    But delays are a regular part of life with rail operations. What NJ Transit considers on-time (parroting their 95% on-time performance claims) doesn’t reflect when people are actually able to disembark from the trains. A train can enter Hoboken yard on time, but could sit for 10 minutes waiting for a platform to open up – a delay that doesn’t get factored in.

    Incessant delays weigh on the commuters and some trains are more affected than others. The survey is self-selecting, so if you’re annoyed with NJ Transit and want to send a message about the ongoing delays, you’ll downgrade the service.

    A week doesn’t go by when you don’t hear about NEC delays causing significant backups throughout the NJ Transit rail system. Buying the new cars and train sets helps improve matters, but until the NEC gets improved power systems, delays will persist.

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