Monday, September 29, 2008

NJ Transit incompetence.

I flew into Newark from San Francisco today. NJTransit has an information booth in the baggage reclaim area. Foolishly, I enquired of the person on duty (a young woman) how I might use public transport to get to Bloomfield.

"That in New Jersey?" she asked.

"Yes. It neighbours Newark, where we are right now."

"Uh, huh."


A pause.

"Ain't no bus go there no more. You' have to take this."

She gave me a flyer for a private bus company.

I inwardly shrieked.

"Is there a bus map for the area?"

"Ain't no bus map for here. They maps on these timetables."

She waved a hand over a pitiable selection of timetables for some of the buses and trains into Newark and New York. I know these timetables well. They contain hilarious little schematics that are geographically unfeasible. You certainly can't orient yourself by them.

I thanked her. What else could I do?

She responded (literally) with a grunt.

In this entire exchange, she never looked up once. No eye contact.

In any case, I took the train into Newark Penn Station, transferred to Newark Light Rail, transferred at Broad St. to a Montclair train, and finally transferred at Bloomfield Center to the 709, which passes my house.

A better solution would have been to take a bus or train to Newark Penn Station, take the 72 to Bloomfield Center, and transfer to the 709. One less transfer, and the 72 runs more frequently than the Montclair train.

How did I find this out? Not from NJTransit. No sirree bob. Instead I found an online bus map put together by a private citizen ( and worked it out from that.

NJTransit really stinks. All those routes; all that service; all that taxpayer money, and they can't employ information staff with even basic competence. They can't even help you work out a bus route. Instead we have to do it ourselves.

Terrible, and typical.



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